IBM to buy Chinese e-mail company

Big Blue has announced its intention to acquire Outblaze, a hosted e-mail and messaging business based in Hong Kong.
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

Computing giant IBM has announced its intention to acquire a Chinese hosted e-mail and messaging company.

Hong Kong-based firm Outblaze sells hosted multilingual e-mail and messaging services for other service providers, telcos and corporations to operate under their own brands.

Outblaze will become part of IBM Lotus's Bluehouse project, IBM's online business social-networking and collaboration service, IBM announced last week. Bluehouse is currently in open beta.

"The acquisition of these Outblaze assets further demonstrates Lotus's commitment to delivering secure, scalable online solutions and will help accelerate delivery of collaborative services, with little to no IT involvement," said Bob Picciano, the general manager of IBM Lotus Software, in a statement.

Security experts warned that companies considering moving to hosted e-mail services in developing countries should think about where their data will reside, and choose their provider carefully. A report last week warned that emerging markets including China are at greater risk of cybercrime, while the U.S. government warned in November that the Chinese government was using advanced cyber-espionage techniques.

"With any hosted service you have to do due diligence, look at the system, and how it's being managed," said Andy Buss, senior analyst at Canalys.

Buss recommended that businesses either use a trusted local company, or one of the trusted larger providers such as IBM for hosted messaging services. The analyst added that as more staff start to rely on online tools, companies have to work out how to integrate tools and workflow.

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