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December 8, 2015
Big Blue Buys Clearleap
Posted by KMontgomery

Big Blue Buys Clearleap

Video makes the world go round, but it takes a cloud service provider to make video go round the world.

Solidifying its strategy in the cloud-based video services market, IBM Corp.(NYSE: IBM) announced today that it’s acquired Clearleap to help scale its solutions for the entertainment, enterprise, education and government markets. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but IBM highlighted the strategic importance of the acquisition for addressing video communications needs across a wide range of applications, including company webcasts, conference live streams, video training sessions and more.

Jim Comfort, GM of cloud services for IBM, also spoke about why Clearleap in particular was an attractive acquisition target.

“When we looked at the technologies required, Clearleap had really done two things,” said Comfort. “One, they had built a modular, API-oriented architecture, which is the only way this can be done that makes sense over time, and that fits very well with our strategy overall. And they had frankly solved some of the toughest problems by starting with core enterprise partners and delivering at a level of quality and completeness that satisfied them… It’s really the architecture and quality of the solution.”

IBM said it plans to blend the solution from Clearleap with other cloud-based technologies it acquired from Aspera in 2014 and Cleversafe earlier this fall. Aspera specialized in high-capacity data delivery, while Cleversafe focused on management of unstructured data.

As for Clearleap, the acquisition by IBM is a boon, but it’s also a mark of the success the company has earned since it was founded in 2008. Customers include major names like HBO, the NFL, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and many others. And at least one customer, Scripps, has been vocal about its high estimation of Clearleap’s services, saying in 2014: “We know that Clearleap has the capabilities to help us reach the next phase of our strategy… whatever that next phase and that strategy will be.” (See Scripps Takes Longer Clearleap for Multiscreen.)

Clearleap CEO Braxton Jarratt noted that many of his company’s customers already overlap with IBM’s, and that their response to the acquisition deal has been positive.

“Every one of our customers is either global or contemplating going global already, and so being able to have the size and scale [of IBM] behind us has been a very positive thing for our customers,” said Jarratt.

Currently, the bulk of Clearleap’s business is in North America and Europe, but there’s significant opportunity for expansion under the umbrella of IBM.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

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