IBM buys Lotus Development (1995)
Why: Losing against Windows with OS/2, IBM wanted to open another front against Microsoft with strong desktop software products. Lotus had Notes, then the dominant "groupware" product, and its SmartSuite office productivity suite.
Price: US$3.5 billion
Hostile/friendly: Lotus initially looked for a "white knight" to save it from IBM's clutches but quickly succumbed after IBM re-raised its offer.
Key premerger stats:
Notes was used by 1.5 million employees at 5,500 companies at the time, according to The New York Times.
Notes remains popular, though Microsoft Outlook and Exchange surpassed it nearly five years ago. SmartSuite was a nonstarter. However, IBM is taking another stab at unseating Microsoft in Office and e-mail. Notes 8 is now much slicker-looking, while IBM has introduced an office suite based around OpenOffice technology that draws upon the old Lotus Symphony brand name.
Other major IBM acquisitions:
2002: PricewaterhouseCoopers, for US$3.5 billion
2003: Rational Software, for US$2.1 billion
2007: Cognos, for US$5 billion
Sources: Computerworld, IDG News Service, Microsoft.com, Wikipedia, Morningstar.com, HP.com, SEC.gov, Bizjournals.com, The New York Times, News.com