On Friday, IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) closed on its previously announced deal to pick up The Weather Company, which included the latter's cloud data platform as well as mobile and cloud-based web properties.
The deal, which was first announced in October, is a key element in Big Blue's transformation to a cloud-based vendor that can provide Internet of Things (IoT) products and services through the use of big data, analytics and cloud computing.
Financial terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed.
The Weather Company brings a wealth of cloud data platform expertise into the IBM fold. Its mobile app is the fourth most-used daily in the United States, handling up to 26 million inquiries for its cloud-based services per day.
IBM will run that cloud-data platform across its data centers, and use it as its data center backbone. The Weather Company's data will also serve as a foundation for IBM's Watson Internet of Things businesses.
"This rich platform provides our clients significant competitive advantage as they link their business and sensor data with weather and other pertinent information in real-time," said John E. Kelly, IBM's senior vice president, cognitive solutions and research. "We can arm entire industries with deep multimodal insights to help enterprises gain clarity and take action on the oceans of data being generated around them."
While Watson can do many cool things, such as crush human contestants on Jeopardy, it hasn't done a lot to date for IBM's bottom line. In order to gain real-world customers in areas such as hospitality, IBM opened its Watson IoT headquarters in December in Munich, Germany. (See IBM Unveils Watson IoT Global HQ.) In March 2015, IBM announced it was committing $3 billion to its IoT play.
The Weather Company deal also brought another outside CEO into IBM's ranks. David Kenny, the former chairman and CEO of The Weather Company, is now the general manager of IBM's Watson business. Kenny was previously president of Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM).
Kenny joined Harriet Green, formerly CEO of Thomas Cook, who leads Watson IoT, Education and Commerce, and Deborah DiSanzo, formerly CEO of Philips Healthcare, who leads Watson Health. Michael Rhodin leads the Watson Business Development unit.
The deal included weather.com, Weather Underground, The Weather Company brand and B2B brand WSI. It didn't include cable network The Weather Channel, although The Weather Channel will license weather forecast data and analytics from IBM.
IBM also announced that The Weather Company would be expanding into China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Japan over the next three years, which will generate even more data for the company.
— Mike Robuck, editor, Telco Transformation