IBM to acquire Outblaze email assets

Some very exciting news today: IBM will buy Outblaze’s email assets and incorporate them in “Bluehouse”. “Bluehouse”, a project by IBM Lotus, is an online social networking and collaboration service for businesses.

The news was released overnight, local time, so postings of the news and requests for information are starting to appear. More details on this deal will be released next week at the Lotusphere conference, and you can check back here for more news then. For now here is the text of the press release issued by IBM:

IBM Announces Intent to Acquire Outblaze’s E-Mail Service Assets

ARMONK, NY and HONG KONG – 15 Jan 2009: IBM (NYSE: IBM) has announced its intent to acquire the strategic messaging service assets of Outblaze, Ltd., a privately held provider of online messaging and collaboration services, based in Hong Kong. Building on IBM Lotus’ market leadership in messaging software, the asset acquisition will accelerate the delivery of affordable, Web-based e-mail services in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

With more than 10 years of experience, Outblaze was one of the first companies to offer a fully hosted multilingual e-mail service and now supports over 40 million users. Outblaze’s proven online Web-based messaging service offers unique capabilities for branding and administration. Today, Outblaze operates one of the largest online service platforms for the provision of private label e-mail, collaboration and social media services for other service providers, telecommunications operators, corporations, academia, media and publishing companies.

The Outblaze messaging service will be part of IBM Lotus’ Project “Bluehouse.” “Bluehouse” is IBM’s online social networking and collaboration service designed for business and currently in open beta ( “Bluehouse” helps people work together more quickly and easily beyond the boundaries of their organizations. Within the service people can share files, chat, participate in online meetings and network over the Web.

“The acquisition of these Outblaze assets further demonstrates Lotus’ commitment to delivering secure, scalable online solutions and will help accelerate delivery of collaborative services, with little to no IT involvement,” said Bob Picciano, General Manager, IBM Lotus Software and WebSphere Portal. “Lotus has always led the way in helping people get more connected, and we recognize that getting the right information and expertise particularly outside of your own organization, can pose quite a challenge. IBM will help companies overcome the barriers of time, distance and affiliation to easily work together and deliver better business outcomes,” added Picciano.

The combination of the Outblaze assets and “Bluehouse” will provide customers with more choices in messaging solutions. Enterprise clients will be able to use IBM as a single provider for all their messaging needs, whether on-premise or online, serving a range of user needs from occasional to full-time. Small business customers will get a simple-to-acquire, integrated set of collaboration services that allow them to easily work with their network of customers and partners. Partners such as telecommunications operators and Internet service providers will be able to package and sell collaborative services to their clients under their own brands.

Further detail on how these new assets will become part of IBM’s online portfolio will be disclosed at the Lotusphere conference in Orlando next week.