Newspaper article International New York Times

IBM and Box Join to Refine Data in the Cloud

Newspaper article International New York Times

IBM and Box Join to Refine Data in the Cloud

Article excerpt

The companies are combining their products, technology and marketing to try to improve collaboration by workers in businesses.

Corporate partnerships, like human ones, depend on what each side brings to the relationship and what each side needs.

So, using that give-and-take formula, an alliance announced on Wednesday would seem to be a good match.

IBM, the technology giant, and Box, a Silicon Valley online file- storage company, are combining their products, technology and marketing to try to smarten and streamline the work done by teams in business.

IBM brings its global reach, expertise in security, and data analysis and Watson artificial-intelligence software. Box brings a service used by millions of people in corporations and organizations who store all manner of data-rich content such as business documents and X-rays in the company's computing cloud. Together, the two companies say they will develop new applications that will enable teams of workers to collaborate more easily and efficiently.

For IBM, the agreement with Box is the latest in series of partnerships with other companies including Apple, Facebook, Twitter and the Weather Company, which owns Weather.com and the Weather Channel. In these alliances, IBM is applying its technology to large pools of digital data to create new services for corporate customers. In the Apple and Box partnerships, the goal is to help increasingly mobile workers become more versatile and productive.

"This deal is largely about using IBM's artificial intelligence on the corporate content in the Box service," said Frank Gens, the chief analyst for the International Data Corporation, a market research firm. "And it fits the pattern of the recent partnerships for IBM."

For Box, the IBM alliance promises to be a cost-effective path to further growth. Box has more than 37 million registered users, though most do not pay for the service. In its most recent quarter, reported this month, the company said it had 3.7 million paying customers, a 70 percent increase from the quarter a year ago.

But while Box is growing, it remains unprofitable. …

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