IBM Gets Israel in On Demand

IBM and the Israel Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor are teaming up to accelerate the adoption of open standards in Israel.

The plan is for Big Blue to work with the Israeli government’s ministry in order to identify innovative start-ups committed to developing open, on-demand solutions on IBM technology and provide them with technical, marketing and sales support.

The strategic collaboration agreement calls for IBM to provide Israeli start-up companies with a bevy of benefits, such as technical, marketing and sales support, inside tracks in business development opportunities and consulting help. In return, IBM gets to seed the Israeli software ecosystem with more companies helping to sell its on-demand business philosophy and to offer IT services based on open standards and IBM’s product lines.

The idea is to help Israeli business partners go to market faster, while reducing development costs.

IBM said the agreement is part of the ministry’s industrial R&D cooperation program, which aims to connect Israeli start-ups with multinational companies. The deal makes IBM the largest technology company to establish a formal relationship with the department.

The agreement calls for IBM and Israel’s ministry to select ISVs for the program. They have to show some innovation chips and be developing on-demand systems based on technologies such as RFID , grid autonomic computing and Linux. Once they meet the criteria set out by Israel’s chief scientist, they’ll be eligible for R&D funds to help their projects along.

“By teaming with IBM, we are providing innovative Israeli companies with access to technology expertise and extensive sales and marketing resources — all of which are crucial to their success,” said Ehud Olmert, vice prime minister of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, in a statement.

Israel’s count of 4,000 technology companies is described by the country as second only to the number of technology companies in California. IDC reckons that IT spending in Israel will reach $3.5 billion in 2005 and is projected to reach nearly $4 billion by 2008.

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