Somewhere in IBM‘s corporate headquarters there must be a computer system that is malfunctioning. This system is the one that controls capital expenditure, and the unlikely bug means that IBM can only invest multiples of a billion dollars in capital expenditures. Over the past few years, IBM has made multiple announcements of $1 billion investments in big data, cloud infrastructure and other cutting-edge technology. Today, it’s the turn of health tech.
IBM is buying Merge Healthcare, a provider of medical imaging equipment. The aim of the deal is to integrate Merge’s tools into the broader Watson health solution set. Watson is, as most people will remember, IBM’s big data solution that famously won the Jeopardy! quiz show. And while the really important use case is winning game shows, there is also a degree of benefit to applying Watson technology to other areas. Healthcare is one of those areas.