In a deal announced today, IBM and Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala), an Abu Dhabi-based investment and development company, said that Watson would come to the Middle East and North Africa, allowing companies in the health care, retail, education, banking and finance industries to utilize Watson's capabilities. In addition, Watson will be offered to partners in the region as part of the joint venture.
"This collaboration is another important demonstration of IBM's commitment to bringing Watson to all corners of the world and accelerating adoption of cognitive computing as the new technology standard for innovation," said Mike Rhodin, senior vice president, IBM Watson, in a statement. "Mubadala's strong relationships throughout the MENA region will enable local organizations and entrepreneurs access to Watson to transform their work."
The financial terms of the joint IBM and Mubadala venture were not disclosed.
IBM, which has struggled to grow its overall top-line revenue as it continues to transform its business, is looking to the region for growth. Research firm IDC noted that spending on products and services in the Information and Communications Technology market will surpass $270 billion this year, making it the second-fastest growing market in information technology.
"This new joint venture with IBM will put both the UAE and broader MENA region on the leading edge for adoption of this breakthrough technology," said Homaid Al Shemmari, CEO of Aerospace & Engineering Services at Mubadala. "We are confident that together we can continue to accelerate the region's knowledge-based economy by empowering businesses to capitalize on new opportunities with this world class technology."
IBM has looked to expand the size and scope of Watson recently, as it starts to turn the artificial intelligence unit into a significant business.
Earlier this year, it signed a deal with Japanese technology holding company Softbank to bring Watson to Japan, as well as announcing a new health cloud computing system known as Watson Health Cloud, partnering with the likes of Apple (AAPL), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Medtronic (MDT).