IBM will spend US$1.4 billion to acquire AT&T subsidiary Sterling Commerce, in a move the Armonk, N.Y.-based technology giant said will expand the company’s efforts in the area of intelligent business networks. Sterling Commerce, which makes business transaction, selling and fulfillment software, gives IBM a bigger share of the business-to-business integration software and services market, which analysis firm Gartner estimates to be $5 billion and growing at a 10% annual rate. The news follows a recent briefing by IBM CEO Sam Palmisano in which he said IBM will continue to target higher-value, higher-growth. IBM said it would spend $20 billion on acquisitions over the next five years and that the focus in this area would remain on software companies.

Objectivity, which makes software for data management, has formed a strategic business unit called InfiniteGraph to provide a product for deep analysis of data and its relationships. InfiniteGraph, a distributed graph database product for the cloud or enterprise, is designed to provide organizations with the ability to manage data as their applications scale up in both connections and relationships. “There are important connections and relationships in [organizations’] data that are highly valuable for business and other intelligence efforts. The solution that finds the greatest number of relationships the fastest, wins,” said Jay Jarrell, president and CEO of Objectivity, in a statement announcing the new business unit. The goal is to give developers working in social networking, business intelligence, scientific research and national security firms instant answers from vast amounts of complex, unstructured data, the company said.

EARNINGS announced record quarterly revenue of US$376.8 million for its fiscal first quarter ended April 30, an increase of 24% over the same year-ago period. Due to that performance, the company has raised its fiscal year 2011 guidance from $1.545 billion to $1.555 billion in revenue. GAAP earnings per share fell 13% year-over-year to 13 cents, and the forecasted 2011 GAAP earnings per share will fall by 20 cents due to the May 7 acquisition of Jigsaw Data Corp.