Despite not wanting to play in the applications software market, IBM looks to set to sign a hosting pact Siebel to allow both companies to compete against Salesforce.com in the mid-market.
The two firms are rumoured to be collaborating on an online, hosted CRM offering for midsize companies, according to reporst from the US. The likely end-result would see Siebel applications hosted by IBM Global Services, but with partners able to sell on the offering as well. IBM already offers a similar scheme with Onyx Software.
The deal would give Siebel some much needed traction in the mid-market where it has struggled both directly and indirectly since the dissolution of a pact with Great Plains Software, now part of Microsoft Business Solutions.
Siebel will next week announce large layoffs to conincide with its second-quarter earnings call oln 22nd July. The company has said it expects to miss expectations for its second fiscal quarter.
IBM stopped producing business application during the reign of former CEO Louis Gerstner , but his successor Sam Palmisano came from IBM's sofware and service arm. IBM gets about 30 perc ent of its software revenue from partnerships with more than 100 applications makers. Revenue from IBM's largest software partnerships rose 20 per cent in the first quarter and more than 80 per cent from 2000 to 2002.