IBM buys content management developer Aptrix

IBM Corp. said Tuesday it has acquired Sydney-based Web content management software developer Presence Online Pty Ltd., better known as Aptrix, whose technology IBM intends to add to its Lotus portfolio of collaboration and information management software. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IBM and Aptrix have worked together as partners for several years, and already have a level of technical integration between their products, according to an IBM spokesperson. IBM is using Aptrix’s technology in a new product, Lotus Workplace Content Development, intended to aid users in publishing and managing content on a Web site or corporate intranet. Available now, the software includes technology from three Aptrix products: Aptrix Content Server, Aptrix Portlet Connector, and Aptrix Connect. Lotus Workplace Content Development will retail for US$39,999 per processor license, or US$49,999 for a license and one-year maintenance subscription, IBM said.

IBM’s vast portfolio includes several other content management products, most notably its DB2 Content Manager.

DB2 Content Manager and Lotus Workplace Content Development offer different functionality, said Lotus Vice-President of Messaging and Advanced Collaboration Ken Bisconti. While DB2 Content Manager is a back-end, enterprise-class system for integrating multimedia content from multiple repositories, Lotus Workplace Content Developer is focused more on the publishing and end-user aspects of online content management, Bisconti said. A typical use of the software would be to administrate a company Web site, he said.

“Years ago, everything was bottled up by the Webmaster,” Bisconti said. “By using Web content management software, you can spread the distribution and creation rights throughout an organization.”

Lotus Workplace Content Developer is the second product in Lotus’ recently created Workplace portfolio, which also includes the Lotus Workplace Messaging software released in May. Throughout the next year, Lotus will expand the messaging and collaboration-focused portfolio through new product launches and tweaks on existing products to extend their ability to function as part of an integrated suite, Bisconti said.

IBM plans to retain Aptrix’s 40 employees and offices in Boston, London and Sydney, Lotus General Manager Ambuj Goyal said during a conference call with press and analysts.

Goyal cited the Aptrix acquisition as an example of ongoing consolidation in the software market. Customers now prefer to buy Web content management products from vendors with which they’re already doing business, rather than from stand-alone companies, he said.

“Our customers are trying to solve that integration problem and not do piece-part purchases,” Goyal said.