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IBM Opens New IBM Innovation Center to Fuel Entrepreneurship in Spain and Portugal


BARCELONA, SPAIN - 15 Nov 2006: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it will open a new IBM Innovation Center to help start-up companies, software developers, and independent software vendors (ISVs) create new software applications and services. Located in Barcelona, and serving companies throughout Spain and Portugal, the IBM Innovation Center provides the region with technical support and expertise for helping local businesses test, build and optimize applications based on open platforms.

According to the European Information Technology Observatory (EITO), Spain is beating the United Kingdom to the title of the fastest-growing information technology (IT) market in Europe. This research organization found that technology spending across Europe is expected to increase 3.1 percent over the course of this year, to EUR 644B while Spain’s market is expected to increase by 4.2 percent.

The advent of new Internet-based and open source technologies has eased the process of creating new technologies and inspired a fresh crop of start-up companies across Europe. In Spain, IBM has been working with more than 1,100 software vendors to develop software solutions, as well as a small but growing population of start-up companies.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of IBM’s launch of the European Venture Capital Center (EVCC), designed to build stronger ties with the European venture-backed start-up community. IBM also recently announced that it will open a new IBM Innovation Center in Ireland next year to provide local start-up companies in that region with similar resources.

“By providing increased access to IBM’s technical skills, resources and expertise, we will encourage a greater pool of developers and start-up companies to build applications on open technologies,” said Buell Duncan, general manager, ISV and Developer Relations. “Barcelona is considered to be an active hub of development in Spain and it’s always exciting to tap into a new source of ideas, creativity and innovation.”

Promoting New Sources of Collaboration

Technical experts at the IBM Innovation Center Barcelona will provide customized hands-on support to software companies in Spain and Portugal to build, test and validate applications before they bring their applications to market. In addition to providing technical expertise, the IBM Innovation Center will offer no-charge workshops to build software skills on IBM middleware technologies. IBM recently sponsored workshops on SOA, WebSphere, and Cell Broadband engine at other IBM Innovation Center facilities across Europe. Each quarter, the IBM Innovation Center Barcelona will also host connection events offering area software companies unique networking opportunities.

The IBM Innovation Center Barcelona will be co-located with the new IBM Forum Barcelona, an interactive environment for IBM clients and Business Partners to collaborate on business opportunities. The IBM Forum Barcelona also comprises the IBM Technical Exploration Center, Banking Industry Solution Center and Healthcare Competence Center. Each of these centers provides an integration point for IBM’s leadership in different vertical and regional industries.

Building on Global Successes

Last year, IBM celebrated the 10th anniversary of the IBM Innovation Centers worldwide facilities -- a critical execution point for IBM strategic initiatives over the past decade. Starting as two individual porting centers, the IBM Innovation Center network has grown to a network of 33 facilities around the world.

Over the course of this year, the IBM Innovation Centers around the world assisted the completion of over 4,000 technology enablements and helped more than 9,500 developers build skills on IBM technologies. Last year, the IBM Innovation Centers in Europe engaged with more than 600 ISVs and Solutions Integrators (SIs) to enable more than 1,000 applications to IBM technologies. This year, IBM Innovation Centers have already completed over 4,500 technology enablements and more than 700 technical consultations across all brands. In addition, the number of distinct ISVs that the centers have worked with has increased by 20 percent from last year at this time. Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is just one of the initiatives showing great momentum, with more than 400 enablements and validations worldwide.

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