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IBM buys up the Weather Company, forecasts more cloud for Watson

IBM The Weather Company Photo
IBM SVP Bob Picciano (left) joins the Weather Company CEO David Kenny at the IBM Insight Conference in Las Vegas.

In a surprise move, IBM has announced it would be acquiring the Weather Company’s B2B mobile and cloud-based web properties.

These include WSI, weather.com, Weather Underground and the Weather Company brand, which make up the company’s product and technology businesses.  The only portion not acquired will be the Weather Channel, the TV property, which will license weather forecast data and analytics from Big Blue under a long-term contract.

While perhaps not immediately apparent, the move by IBM is an effort to improve IoT capabilities for its Watson platform.

“The Weather Company’s data platform hosts the fourth-most used mobile app in the U.S.; Cloud-based service handles 26 billion requests a day,” the company said. “The combination of technology and expertise from the two companies will serve as the foundation for the new Watson IoT Unit and Watson IoT Cloud platform.”

The Weather Company acquisition brings with it a cloud-based data platform.  IBM would expand on its capabilities to handle global data sets.  This would, in turn, be linked to sensor and business data.

Along with data from apparently three billion weather forecast reference points, more than 40 million smartphones and 50,000 airplane flights per day, IBM will also be acquiring more than 5000 clients in the media, aviation, energy, insurance and government industries.

The value of the deal was kept confidential.