IBM buys search developer iPhrase

IBM has acquired e-commerce-focused search technology developer iPhrase Systems, one of its longtime partners.

IBM has acquired e-commerce-focused search technology developer iPhrase Systems, a private company based in Bedford, Massachusetts. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IPhrase makes software to help retailers understand and route customer requests, dynamically generate customized Web pages, and improve their online search engines. Its client list includes Dell, eLuxury.com, Nintendo Co., Staples and SouthTrust.

IPhrase and IBM are longtime partners that have collaborated on several customer engagements that involved combining their software products, according to an IBM spokesman. IBM plans to incorporate iPhrase's technology into its information management software portfolio, he said. That portfolio includes an assortment of technologies for integrating and analyzing data from a variety of structured and unstructured data sources.

All of iPhrase's 70 employees will be offered positions at IBM, according to the company.

IBM has a habit of buying up its partners. This year alone, its purchases include Web services infrastructure technology maker DataPower Technology, integration software developer DWL, electronic forms developer PureEdge Solutions and identity resolution software maker SRD. IBM also spent US$1.1 billion buying data integration powerhouse Ascential Software.

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