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IBM, HP Bulking Up EMS

THewlett-Packard And IBM have both announced key acquisitions to bulk up their EMS (enterprise management system) suites. But some analysts characterize IBM's $740 million purchase of asset management vendor MRO as an attempt to leapfrog HP and its $4.5 billion acquisition of Mercury Interactive (which followed the purchase of service desk vendor Peregrine Software).

That's a ridiculous notion. For one, acquisitions take a long time to negotiate--much longer than the one-week interval between HP's and IBM's announcements. For another, Big Blue and MRO have had a strategic relationship in place for some time. It's a logical buy for IBM, but certainly not undertaken on a whim to counter HP's Mercury deal.

In any case, IBM hasn't leapfrogged anyone--HP's acquisition dwarfs Big Blue's purchase, and not just in the price tag. HP's engineering roots will be a good fit with the deep technology it will get from Mercury, including real user monitoring, application and infrastructure testing products and services, IT governance and--last but not least--application dependency mapping. The result for HP is a broad and technically adept EMS portfolio. --Bruce Boardman, [email protected]