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IBM buying SaaS e-mail to bolster Bluehouse platform

By Chris Kanaracus, IDG News Service
January 16, 2009 11:50 AM ET

IDG News Service - IBM is planning to buy the e-mail service assets of Outblaze, a large Hong Kong application service provider, to help beef up its Bluehouse social-networking and collaboration platform, IBM said late Thursday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Outblaze is privately held and says it supports more than 76 million users across 480,000 domains with its white label e-mail, social-networking and collaboration services.

Combined, the Outblaze and Bluehouse technology will enable enterprise customers to tap IBM for "all their messaging needs, whether on-premises or online," and smaller companies will get a "simple to acquire" and integrated bundle of tools, IBM said in a statement.

IBM spokesman Mike Azzi said Friday that the company plans to reveal more details about how Outblaze's software will fit into Bluehouse next week, during the Lotusphere conference in Orlando.

Bluehouse, which is now in beta, focuses on making online meetings, networking and file sharing easier and more effective. The platform is part of IBM's overall push toward delivering services from the cloud to customers.

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