IBM buys Informix's database for $1 billion

IBM's $1 billion acquisition gives vendor good technology and a handhold in a 'much-lower-end,' customer base. The remaining piece of Informix is to be called Ascential Softare.

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By  Greg Wilson Published  April 25, 2001

IBM has reinforced its database business by forking out $1 billion for Informix’s RBDMS technology. Although the full details of the deal have yet to come to light, it’s known that the remaining piece of Informix’s business will be renamed Ascential Software.

Ascential plans to integrate its own DataStage product with Big Blus’s DB2 Warehouse Manager.

Details many remain sketchy, but market pundits are already saying it’s a smart move by IBM.

"It's dead on,” said John Landry, former strategist for IBM and now principal with Lead Dog Ventures. “IBM gets a great bunch of technology and an entry into a much-lower-end customer base that IBM has typically not been able to get. And, given IBM's incredible research on DB2, they'll go right into Oracle's face. Sybase will fall by the wayside.”

Informix has had a rough time of it over the last few years, but hopes rose at the end of 2000 when Informix acquired Ardent Software and installed Peter Gynes as CEO. The appointment of Gynes was the third CEO the company had seen in a year.

Gynes took tough action immediately to sort out the vendor’s operational issues, when he reorganised Informix along just two lines: the traditional RDMS business unit and a database independent solutions business.

Towards the end of last year, Geynes went further and spun off the solutions business entirely.

Informix's recent quarterly earnings beat consensus estimates, when it reported $18.3 million. However, that figure was well down on the $27.1 million the vendor had reported for the same time last year.

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