IBM has acquired WebDialogs, a web conferencing provider in MA, that has managed to stay in business since its inception in 1998 by offering its services to more established companies to resell under their own brand. Through the acquisition, IBM has rebranded WebDialogs to "Unyte," and will be part of the IBM Software Lotus division.
Financial terms have not been disclosed, which typically means that it is not an amount worth mentioning or touting on the Internet.
I suspect that acquisition was a reaction to Cisco acquiring WebEx this past May for $3.2 billion. IBM has had a foot in the web collaboration space for years now with its IBM SameTime application. SameTime is an on-premise solution that traditionally works well within the firewall but once you try to tunnel out, it's complicated and unreliable.
IBM's positioning is most likely around the fact that they can now offer SameTime to its large enterprise companies while marketing Unyte, a hosted solution, to smaller businesses. This is yet another example of a large enterprise software company trying to get a foothold into the Software as a Service (SaaS) space.
To remain competitive, companies are converging voice, video, and data into a unified communications platform. I understand IBM's collaboration strategy and as much as it is on point, it is difficult to execute strategy with products and applications that have a track record for being cumbersome, unreliable, and not widely accepted in the marketplace. (IBM SameTime has about a 5% market share while WebDialogs has less that 0.01% market share in the web conferencing space)