IBM becomes Siebel's next new best friend

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In its latest move to reassure the world that it has not sold its soul to Microsoft, Siebel will today announce a dedicated Websphere team of developers with IBM, armed with $250 million to spend.

Three months ago, Siebel became the first major enteprise software firm to commit to Microsoft’s still ill-defined .Net platform. At the time analysts and the market questioned how the company could hope to continue to support IBM’s rival Websphere technology with the same level of attention.

IBM and Siebel will address this issue today in a joint announcement. It is unclear which party has called for the public declaration of support, although many commentators are convinced that IBM was the driving party. It is also unclear who will contribute the majority of the $250 combined funding for the venture. Siebel last week reported continuing losses in its latest financial results.

The two companies will offer software and consulting services for specific industries, such as financial services, communications, automotive and electronics. The announcement is also having to take into account IBM's $3.5 billion acquisition last year of PricewaterhouseCoopers' consulting unit, which had a long-standing partnership with Siebel.

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