IBM expands Irish operation

IBM said it will invest Euro 46 million and hire 300 workers to expand its operations in Ireland.

IBM plans to boost software development at its operations in Ireland by investing Euro 46 million (AUD$79 million) and hiring 300 workers in Dublin, the company announced on Thursday.

The monetary investment will go toward expanding IBM's Dublin software development operation and launching a Business Incubation Center. The incubation center's goal is to foster collaboration among IBM, universities, small and medium-size businesses and the government in order to identify new technology opportunities.

The new positions will include software developers as well as experts to help grow IBM's supply chain operations.

IBM will also expand its Dublin Software Lab by creating centers where customers and business partners can visit to learn about SOA (service-oriented architecture), IBM's integration with SAP AG products and IBM software for doctors and patients.

IBM currently employs 3,200 people in Ireland and earlier this year opened an RFID (radio frequency identification) and wireless center to test and develop such wireless products and services.

IBM used the announcement of the investment and staffing plans also to celebrate its 50th anniversary in Ireland. Over the years, IBM has made several significant investments in its Irish operations, including a US$350 million investment in 1996 and a Euro 22 million investment in 2004.

Thursday's announcement comes just weeks after the Irish government unveiled a new strategy for science and technology innovation, including Euro 3.8 billion in investments through 2013 aimed in part at encouraging students to pursue math and science education so that companies like IBM can continue to find a suitable workforce in Ireland.

A few days after the government announced the investment, Intel, which also has a large operation in Ireland, praised the effort. Speaking during the opening of a fab in Dublin in late June, Intel's chief executive Paul Otellini said: "I wish the U.S. was taking as aggressive a position in encouraging math and science."

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