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IBM CEO Rometty to Double Investment in Mobile Technologies

International Business Machines Corp., the world’s biggest computer-services provider, will double its investment in mobile technology this year, not including acquisitions it could make in the industry.

Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty will move employees and resources to mobile technology as part of the investment, said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of middleware software at IBM. Rometty is prioritizing mobile as much as some of the company’s more high-profile initiatives, like cloud computing and business data analysis, he said.

“If you talked to Ginni and asked her what the key growth plays are for IBM, she would tell you mobility is one of them,” LeBlanc said in an interview. “We’re moving some of our skill and resources into mobility as a growth play.”

The company said today that it will combine a set of technology tools, accumulated from 10 acquisitions since 2006, into products and services for business customers looking specifically for help with mobile computing. The branding push, called “MobileFirst,” is the company’s “stake in the ground” as its clients shift their workload to tablets and smartphones, LeBlanc said.

IBM’s new offerings range from data analysis that helps businesses see how employees are using smartphones to tools for companies to create their own mobile applications. LeBlanc declined to provide specific figures for Armonk, New York-based IBM’s investment in mobile.

In addition to its expanding internal investment, IBM continues to be on the lookout for acquisitions that could enhance its mobile services, LeBlanc said.

IBM shares slipped less than 1 percent to $198.33 at the close in New York. The company has gained 3.5 percent so far this year, compared with a 5.3 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

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