The $600 million deal for Dassault
Systèmes to acquire IBM's PLM sales and client support operations has
officially closed, giving Dassault a unified
product line and PLM value proposition and giving customers the ability to deal
with a single provider.
The pair, which had a relationship around engineering
software and PLM for the past 28 years, will still work together under a Global
Alliance partnership. Under this agreement, the two players will continue to
jointly invest in developing and deploying PLM solutions to customers while
strengthening their cooperation in areas such as professional services, cloud
computing, middleware, flexible financing, hardware, and sales and
Al Bunshaft, a 25-year veteran of IBM and former global vice
president of IBM PLM, has joined Dassault and will serve as managing director.
Seven hundred sales and support people from the IBM PLM group have also come
over to Dassault to bolster its field sales and support organization.
Bunshaft says the motivation for the divestiture was that
the business model resulting from the 28-year partnership no longer made sense
given the two companies' strategies. IBM had
been exiting the application software area over the last decade or so and had
only sold part of the Dassault software line (ENOVIA and CATIA) to the largest
accounts. "From a customer point of view, it's absolutely the right step,"
Bunshaft says. "It provides them with a single, unified organization in
Dassault to support the entire Dassault portfolio whether it's selling,
services and support, or professional consulting services. It's the kind of
complexity and confusion that customers saw as unnecessary in the prior
While the IBM partnership was never exclusive, Bunshaft says
the divestiture now gives Dassault more freedom to pursue partnerships with
other companies in complementary areas of software. He downplayed any of the
"FUD" (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) in the marketplace that this was a breakup
or that IBM and Dassault wouldn't continue to work closely together in the
"The reality is we've created tens of thousands of mutual
customers over the last 28 years and we'd be fools to walk away," he says.
"After this long of a partnership, there's too great an upside to turn our
backs — it's just a natural evolution of what's taken place over the last 30