As a first step toward establishing a joint software development company with Apple Computer Inc., IBM announced today it would buy Metaphor Inc., a Silicon Valley software developer.
Metaphor is reported to be the focal point of the two computer makers' plan to create a joint software system that will redefine desktop personal computing in the second half of the decade. Terms of the proposed purchase by IBM were not disclosed.
IBM and Apple have proposed pooling their development efforts to create an alternative to a similar new desktop standard being proposed by an industry consortium made up of Compaq Computer Corp., Digital Equipment Corp., Microsoft Corp. and a number of other companies.
IBM invested between $10 million and $15 million in Metaphor in 1988. In September of last year IBM and Metaphor began a joint development effort called Patriot Partners that was aimed at creating a new software layer intended to ease the process of writing application programs like word processors, spreadsheets and data base managers.
Yesterday the two companies said the Patriot Partners project fitted into the framework of the alliance between IBM and Apple.