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IBM to Buy ISS for $1.3 Billion 219

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the here-comes-the-licensing-shift dept.
gerald626 writes "IBM announced today that they have formed an agreement to purchase ISS for 1.3 billion dollars." From the article: " The all-cash transaction of about $28 per share is meant to bolster IBM's ability to deliver security services to corporations, the company said. ISS builds network protection products and services, including intrusion detection and monitoring tools. IBM said it intends to use ISS's expertise and software to provide more robust security-related services to its corporate customers."
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IBM to Buy ISS for $1.3 Billion

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  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrotherNO@SPAMoptonline.net> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @12:44PM (#15963477) Journal

    ...want a space station? To spy on Redmond?

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by ackthpt (218170) *

      ...want a space station? To spy on Redmond?

      I laughed. I cried. I read TFA.

    • No, silly, they want it for outsourcing. People in space work much cheaper than humans, plus they don't have anything but work to spend their spare time on. The only downside is that their English is really broken, though.

      BTW, apparently Erich von Däniken [wikipedia.org] is their HR rep here on earth.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @12:58PM (#15963645) Homepage
      IBM's decision to buy the ISS was a fantastic decision. They can now freely ignore the Sarbanes Oxlley laws as well as Monopoly and other laws in every country as the IBM headquarters will not be located in outer space making them immune to earth laws.

      Great move on the executives part!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Lectrik (180902)
      ...want a space station? To spy on Redmond?
      at least I wasn't the only one thinking that
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by supremebob (574732)
      Nah, they're just trying to open up their talent pool for future outsourcing venues! I should probably start learning Vulcan now...
    • by infolib (618234) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @01:17PM (#15963810)
      No, they want the cleaning company. [issworld.com] (2005 revenue $8e9)
    • when is IBM putting a giant friking laser on the Space station?
    • by slapout (93640)
      Well, we know for those commericals that they already have space suits. And moving down one letter each in "HAL" gives "IBM". H->I A->B L->M
           
    • Ok, I'm glad that I'm not the only one who made that Space Station leap! Who the hell is ISS?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CAIMLAS (41445)
      To complicate matters, I get ISS and IIS confused; I have to think which acronym is the station, and which one is the shitty web server.

      So, basically, I thought, "What...? How would IBM Purchasing Microsoft's web server improve security for anyone?! Unless they're going to burry it deep."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nurb432 (527695)
      Nah, they will paint it blue and white .. Billboard in space.
    • I was thinking of another ISS [wikipedia.org].
    • by EMR (13768)
      At $1.3billion they could sell it for spare parts and make a ton of money.
    • Easy:
      1. Buy Space Station.
      2. Rename to "death star".
      3. Mount "laser".
      4. ?
      5. Profit!![1]


      [1] One! Million! Dollars!
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @12:45PM (#15963484) Homepage Journal
    IBM announced today that they have formed an agreement to purchase ISS for 1.3 billion dollars.


    IBM: This ISS, could it carry my wisdom beyond the Internet?

    Sybok: It could. Yes.

    IBM: Then I shall make use of this... ISS.

    Sybok: It will be your chariot!

    (Kirk politely raises his hand.)

    Kirk: Excuse me.

    IBM: It will carry my power to every corner of creation...

    Kirk: Excuse me! I'd just like to ask a question!

    (McCoy looks at Kirk like he just farted in church.)

    Kirk: Excuse me, but What does IBM need with a space station?
  • Nice headline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <infoNO@SPAMdevinmoore.com> on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @12:49PM (#15963533) Homepage Journal
    Maybe in this case it would be wise to spell out the acronym, so we don't all have a tizzy that they're buying *THE* ISS, the one orbiting the Earth.
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @12:50PM (#15963549) Homepage Journal
    Geez, everyone's telling the same lame "ISS" = "International Space Station" joke.

    It's just a typo! Haven't you figured that out yet? IBM simply bought IIS from Microsoft. I wonder if they'll make IIS run on Linux?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) *

      Geez, everyone's telling the same lame "ISS" = "International Space Station" joke.

      Shows that Slashdot is going to the dogs, Goofy, Pluto or other. Yeah, Ha Ha Ha, big yuks all around. It's probably a bit like hell, being told the same dumb joke over and over and over.

      So the reality is, with Microsoft getting into the security biz, so is IBM. Looks like security companies are the new Hot Property.

      • by Lectrik (180902)
        Shows that Slashdot is going to the dogs, Goofy, Pluto or other.


        I'm sorry, but Pluto no longer qualifies as a dog and has been downgraded to some random body orbiting the sun...
        and since pluton is already taken we will call this class of bodies... plutettes.
    • Better yet, I wonder if they will make IIS run on the ISS?!?!?
    • Getting IIS to START running on Linux would be nothing compared to being able to STOP it from running in Windows!
  • Can anyone honestly think of a better tax-haven than space? I mean really, what's the rate up there these days?
  • Let Me Be... (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by faqmaster (172770)
    Let me be one of the first thousand to say, "Why would IBM buy the International Space Station?"

    In Soviet Russia, Space Station buys you!

    All your space station are belong to IBM!

    (Whatever happened to Natalie Portman? I hardly ever see her around here any more.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by MarkGriz (520778)
      (Whatever happened to Natalie Portman? I hardly ever see her around here any more.)

      She opened up her own restaurant [slashdot.org]

      Doesn't anybody pay attention around here?

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Phreakiture (547094)

      In Soviet Russia, Space Station buys you!

      It is but a mir space station....

    • by Comboman (895500)
      In Soviet Russia, Space Station buys you!

      All your space station are belong to IBM!

      You missed some, let me help you:

      I for one welcome our new Space-Station-owning overlords.

      Does ISS run Linux?

      Imagine a Beowolf cluster of space stations.

      1. Sell Thinkpad to Lenovo

      2. Buy International Space Station.

      3. ????

      4. Profit!!

  • by GieltjE (815903) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @12:58PM (#15963639) Homepage
    It is internet security systems: http://iss.net/ [iss.net] I hope blackice remains as a pc firewall, I think it is one of the best
    • by NaDrew (561847)
      I hope blackice remains as a pc firewall, I think it is one of the best
      BlackICE has sucked since ISS closed the California (Mountain View) office and laid off the entire Desktop team. Before that, sure, it was the best desktop firewall available. Of course it was made completely irrelevant by XP SP2's built-in and auto-activated firewall.
  • IBM made a resounding move into security on Wednesday, acquiring Internet Security Systems for $1.3 billion.

    The all-cash transaction of about $28 per share is meant to bolster IBM's ability to deliver security services to corporations, the company said.

    ISS builds network protection products and services, including intrusion detection and monitoring tools.

    IBM said it intends to use ISS's expertise and software to provide more robust security-related services to its corporate customers.

    "This acquisition will
  • In other news... the Fisher Space Pen Company's stock is skyrocketing...
  • Bad, wicked, naughty Zoot. She's been setting alight to our beacon, which, I just remembered, is space station shaped.

    It's not the first time this has happened.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by spun (1352)
      Wicked wicked Zoot ... she is a bad person and she must pay the penalty. And here in Castle IBM, we have but one punishment... you must tie her down on a bed ... and spank her. Come!
  • I mean come on, use your head. You may need to smack it a few times for a nice brain reboot.

    As long as this buyout doesn't mean 15 more login screens with separate passwords to do anything internal, I'm down with it.
  • by tnk1 (899206) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @01:01PM (#15963684)
    It's a company!

    Internet Security Systems. www.iss.net

    They do security. That is how IBM will derive security benefits from the purchase. At least that would be the going theory.

    ISS has also apparently made a huge impression on Slashdot readers. *smirk*

    Although buying a space station and fitting it with an Annihiliation Beam which they can use to hold the world for ransom to the tune of one... million... dollars, would seem to have some shareholder value as well, I didn't know that the shares in the Space Station were only 28$ a share. Or that shares even existed for the space station. It must be those wacky Russians trying to make another few million off space.

  • Pfffft! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by irregular_hero (444800) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @01:07PM (#15963736)
    This is a horrible move on IBM's part.

    ISS is having its clock cleaned in the market, pulled apart by high-performance enterprise IPS vendors (Tipping Point, Juniper, Cisco, and the like) on one side, and having their thunder stolen by platform security vendors (Sygate, Check Point, Netscreen, and, yes, even Cisco) on the other -- not to mention the "built-in" stuff that Microsoft has released and the more advanced platform security controls that the company is prepping for release.

    Not too long ago, ISS made the fateful decision to knife most of its IDS/IPS product lines in the back by discontinuing support for "General Purpose" servers and third party appliances, effectively forcing all of its enterprise customers to buy an "owned" ISS appliance (the Proventia series). Companies with large deployments of ISS RealSecure on now End of Lifed platforms suddenly found themselves offered a year of update support and another capital outlay to "upgrade" to Proventia appliances. Not many followed the company down that path, but the ones that did get "first cut" appliances found that they, well, sucked. The company then recentered on a more "appliance"-looking hardware platform, but, by then, the damage was done.

    Then ISS took a market-leading desktop security product, BlackICE, and folded it into their IDS/IPS management product. The integration damn near killed a lot of existing BlackICE customers, not to mention the fact that succeeding software releases were, in many cases, incompatible with previous releases. Those customers who bravely rolled out a BlackICE installation found themselves in the unenviable position of having to do the rollout all over again.

    Then there's ISS's reputation for "leading-edge" security research. Enter the firing of Michael Lynn related to the Cisco BlackHat presentation... They look like idiots out of the whole ordeal, more interested in protecting their corporate butts from the Cisco PR engine than the disclosure of even SANTITIZED security information.

    IBM? Good luck with your new toy. It was broken before you bought it.
    • 100% agree with you (Score:3, Informative)

      by brennz (715237)
      First of all, ISS's vulnerability scanner has turned to such a piece of dog doo, I wouldn't touch it with a poop scooper. In 2005, it was installing an vulnerable MSDE onto windows boxes, and just patching the MSDE was enough to break compatibility (This vulnerability has been out for 3 months at the time). On the product side though, ISS's scanners have been thoroughly stomped by Tenable's Nessus [nessus.org] and Eeye's Retina [eeye.com].

      As far as ISS goes on the IDS/IPS side, their products went from leader to lackluster. Snor
      • You think it's bad on Windows? You should try it on HP-UX. Random kernel panics abound.

        For awhile, ISS was using us as beta testers. They'd give us a patch to install on a customer's box to "fix" the issue. Apparently they didn't bother testing these patches, and the kernel panics continued.

        Fortunately, we were able to convince most of our customers to tell ISS to go fuck themselves.
    • Re:Pfffft! (Score:5, Informative)

      by ilaci (202014) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @02:09PM (#15964211)
      irregular_hero, you are of course entitled to your opinions. Hopefully I can provide a little more information about some of the points you are confused on.

      > Not too long ago, ISS made the fateful decision to knife most of its IDS/IPS product lines in the back by discontinuing support for "General Purpose" servers and third party appliances, effectively forcing all of its enterprise customers to buy an "owned" ISS appliance (the Proventia series).

      I'm guessing by "General Purpose" servers you are referring to the Network Sensor and Server Sensor products which could run on hardware you bought. The first Proventia appliance launched was the Proventia A, which was the Network Sensor software pre-installed on a rackmount, sold as a unit. In truth the Proventia A was not very different from the Network Sensor software because it was almost running the same software. The appliance came about because many customers did not wish to buy their own hardware -- they wished to have the appliance. On the other hand, many customers did still wish to buy their own hardware. Thus, Network Sensors, Server Sensors, and Proventia As are in fact all still fully supported. The exception is the slow phase-out of the least popular Nokia and Solaris platforms.

      For more information on the Product Life Cycle of the above mentioned products, please see the Product Documentation for the product you're interested in:
      Server Sensor -- http://www.iss.net/support/documentation/docs.php? product=15&family=7 [iss.net]
      Network Sensor -- http://www.iss.net/support/documentation/docs.php? product=12&family=6 [iss.net]
      Proventia A -- http://www.iss.net/support/documentation/docs.php? product=35&family=12 [iss.net]
      Or for a full listing of products you can see the documentation for, please see: http://www.iss.net/support/documentation/index.php [iss.net]

      There may have been some confusion on this point due to the wild popularity of the Proventia G and Proventia M products which is a completely different product and relies on completely different software. The older Network Sensor, Server Sensor, and Proventia A products are in fact still available, supported, and sold.

      > Companies with large deployments of ISS RealSecure on now End of Lifed platforms suddenly found themselves offered a year of update support and another capital outlay to "upgrade" to Proventia appliances. Not many followed the company down that path, but the ones that did get "first cut" appliances found that they, well, sucked. The company then recentered on a more "appliance"-looking hardware platform, but, by then, the damage was done.

      I believe you may have to be more specific to help resolve your confusion here. Perhaps you were on one of the least-popular platforms of Nokia or Solaris which has been slowly phased out to improve support for more popular products? Based on your mention of appliances, I can only guess you had a Network Sensor (since there is no such thing as a Server Sensor appliance)? The first appliances that came out were the Proventia As, which ran pretty much the same exact software as the Network Sensor software. So your frustration was perhaps due to the hardware? As I mentioned above, the Network Sensor software on many platforms including Linux is still fully supported.

      > Then ISS took a market-leading desktop security product, BlackICE, and folded it into their IDS/IPS management product. The integration damn near killed a lot of existing BlackICE customers, not to mention the fact that succeeding software releases were, in many cases, incompatible with previous
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Metzli (184903)
        As a (hopefully) soon-to-be-former ISS customer I can't speak for Server Sensor, Proventia A, etc., but I do know about Site Protector, the Proventia G and the Proventia Desktop. The G isn't bad, as it's just a somewhat stripped-down Red Hat 8. It's pretty rock-solid and stable.

        Site Protector is (IMHO) a bloated piece of crap. I don't like security software that will only run on Windows (only recently supporting W2k3 SP1), requires SQL Server, and can't be accessed in any useful manner from a non-Windows
      • Re:Pfffft! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by irregular_hero (444800) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @03:21PM (#15964761)
        Hey, glad to see ISS's PR department knows about Slashdot. And, hey! You're right, I was affected by the product line "simplification"! Glad to meet you, now sit down and listen.

        Knifing the Nokia relationship left lots of enterprise customers in the dust, not because it was done, but it was done while 1) the product was still being actively pushed by both companies, and 2) without an assessment of what impact it would have on the customer base. Let's face it, the Nokia stuff was axed because ISS wanted to enter the appliance space, without regard to existing deployments. I still remember the arrogant tact of ISS's sales staff when they approached us with the news AND a quote for replacing all of our deployments with Proventia -- it was 20% higher than our TCO on Nokia! That was, and still is, a bad BUSINESS move, and left a lot of customers with a bad taste in their mouths about ISS. That aside...

        I find your assertion about the Proventia G and M being "wildly popular" a bit dubious for a product that has only had about a year and a half in the market (and, yes, I'm counting that from the launch of the G400 and G2000 -- as an enterprise customer, they're the only ones we every considered). I talk with a lot of ISS customers. The big ones -- the truly big ones -- consider themselves saddled with their Proventia investment. They see other vendors coming in providing multi-gigabit solutions that operate at wire speeds on all packet sizes... They see IPS functionality being rolled into core switch fabrics, some of them on general purpose blades... They begin to wonder why they're invested in edge IPS when their firewalls are starting to gain the same feature functionality... And they get angry when a Core update munges their SiteProtector AGAIN... Leave the assessment of "wildly popular" to the point in time when these users report themselves as being totally satisfied with the investment they've made, not because our installed base is X^2 instead of X.

        I know you've still got a "general purpose" network sensor out there. We used to run a few of those, until we had little nagging issues with XPUs where the proposed solution was "get to Proventia" because "that's where the development is being done now". And although your Network Sensor has an "inline mode," I know for a fact that your sales force actively steers people away from using it as an IPS. Having a product available is not the same as being able to provide undeniably good support for it -- just ask CA about that one.

        As for the BlackICE (nee Desktop Protector, nee Proventia Desktop) installation, hey; what can I say? I wish we could all adopt a product at a point along its lifespan where everything is as we want it. But that didn't happen for us -- and for other customers (mostly bleeding-edge adopters). To speak to the "integration" with SiteProtector, I'd say the selling point there is relatively limited compared to what it was proposed to be when sold to us. But what do I know? I'm just a guy that has to redeploy a bunch of crap that will be replaced by GPO-managed Windows firewall rules and next-gen platform health checking that Microsoft will eventually give us for free. For the second time.

        Thanks for the response, though.
    • by ronanbear (924575)
      This is a horrible move on IBM's part. ISS is having its clock cleaned in the market

      That just makes ISS cheaper to acquire for IBM. IBM don't have to be especially interested in some of those issues such as forcing customers to buy ISS hardware as they can bundle it instead with IBM solutions. This just makes IBM more vertically integrated. There's a few more things that they are in control of.

    • ISS is having its clock cleaned in the market, pulled apart by...

      What do you want to bet there's a patent the company held that they were after?

    • Remember, IBM is the company that gives us Tivoli....

      70% hype, 1% function, 29% dark matter. Why is this different? It's shrink-wrap around a buzzword around a marketing gap.

  • by kimvette (919543)
    I didn't know the International Space Station was for sale? ;)
  • Look at the stock price for ISSX, compare that to the purchase price of about $28/share. There is a total "premium" of 7% above the market value of the ISS stock. The only entity making money on this deal is the brokerage firm that handled the transaction.
  • Serious Comment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @01:14PM (#15963789)

    At the risk of disrupting the fun, I'd like to interject a serious comment. ISS resells some real security technologies that IBM has been missing from their offerings for a long time. In the network security space, they resell some important technology that has traditionally been in the "Cisco camp" and thus mostly implemented by enterprise customers that don't do a lot of business with IBM. This could really change the landscape of enterprise security... in a few years when IBM manages to get ISS integrated into their sales channels.

  • I have to say I am shocked that ISS was worth 1.3 billion. I mean I am very familiar with it's vulnerability assessment toolkits but... 1,300 million. Just seems like a lot but I guess it is all for a name and a reputation (funny, my firm stopped recomending ISS all together but that was a while ago and I've heard they cleaned up their act).

    Also for this article can we add a filtering setting: "read at no reference to space stations"?
  • This is funny, because as someone who has worked for ISS (Internet Security Systems) and frequently reads Slashdot, I've found several articles confusing when people write about /the/ ISS (Space Station) and I think, "Wait, what the hell are we doing?" So I welcome you all to my world of ambiguousness, which won't exist much longer now that it's been bought...
  • by OriginalArlen (726444) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @01:27PM (#15963879)
    when I first started working in infosec (5, 6 years ago) I spent a lot of time downloading and playing with the free trials for various vuln scanners - ISS, Retina, LANGuard and so on. I mentioned this to someone with more security experience who replied "ISS? It's Still Shit, right?"
  • Wow, so close.


    Narrator (Jack): When deep space exploration ramps up, it will be the corporations that name everything: the IBM stellar-sphere, the Microsoft galley, the planet Starbucks.


    w00t!
  • Bye bye Redmond. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rods_from_god [wikipedia.org] - but substitute 'Mainframe' for 'tungsten telephone pole'.
  • ...that's a space station!

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"

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