IBM rolls out mobile-computing program for businesses

IBM's corporate headquarters in Armonk. IBM plans to

IBM's corporate headquarters in Armonk. IBM plans to move many retired workers off its health plan and give them money to buy coverage on a health-insurance exchange. (Credit: Getty Images, 2009)

IBM, seeking to capitalize on the shift to mobile computing, on Thursday unveiled a broad, new "MobileFirst" initiative to sell businesses tools to create apps, analyze data, provide security and manage devices.

The program, based on 10 mobile-related acquisitions in the past four years and a broad portfolio of patents in wireless technology, is designed to provide companies with an end-to-end integrated solution for mobile business, the company said.

At a forum in Japan in October, IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty noted the ubiquity and power of mobile computing by recounting a wedding she had attended.

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"The groom showed me his smartphone to show me how many wedding gifts were coming in from his friends," she said. "No bother with a gift card or a gift wrapped up."

Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of middleware software at IBM, said in a news release that the business world is playing catchup in mobile computing.

"To date, mobile computing has been dominated by discussions of new smartphones, operating systems, games and apps," he said. "But enterprises have yet to tap into the potential of mobile business. Just as the Internet transformed the way we bank, book vacations and manage our health care, mobile computing is also transforming industries."

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