IBM And Thomson Sign Agreement to Jointly Pursue Global E-Learning Market

Companies to Offer World's Largest Portfolio of Online Courses for Corporate and Government Markets

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ARMONK, N.Y. & NAPERVILLE, Ill. - 23 Jul 2002: IBM, the leading provider of e-learning services and technologies, and The Thomson Corporation (NYSE: TOC, TSX: TOC), the world's largest provider of corporate and professional learning solutions, today announced an agreement to jointly pursue the $18 billion market for corporate and government e-learning worldwide.

Under the agreement, the companies will combine IBM's e-learning technologies and services and Thomson learning products and services, which includes the world's largest solution portfolio of professional and technical e-learning courses. The companies will co-market and resell their combined assets to corporate and government customers. They will also jointly develop next-generation courseware and e-learning solutions based on open, industry standards that enable employees to participate in advanced, collaborative online classroom environments.

The two companies are joining forces to meet the growing demand for e-learning, which is being driven by corporate and government initiatives to reduce travel and administrative expenses, and to provide faster and more effective employee training programs on a wide variety of subjects. e-learning, the fastest growing segment of the corporate and government training market, is forecast to grow in excess of 50 percent per year through 2006. Thomson and IBM will jointly offer thousands of e-learning courses on topics ranging from business law to information technology, and as diverse as budgeting, e-commerce and grammar.

Using Thomson development tools, IBM will also customize Thomson courses to help its customers train employees on company-specific products or practices. IBM will also support Thomson clients with strategic consulting, systems integration and hosting services. Thomson will support IBM's clients through the creation of high level, industry and function specific learning tracks that contain high quality, branded content.

IBM will tailor and customize courses for customers by leveraging IBM's thirteen "Knowledge Factories" worldwide, where IBM education, technology and other learning experts develop customized learning solutions for customer initiatives as diverse as new product introductions to employee orientation courses. The IBM-Thomson collaboration will also result in the largest authorized e-learning library for IBM products and services, including IBM eServer, Lotus Notes and Domino, WebSphere and DB2.

"Our global 1,000 customers are looking more closely at e-learning to reduce the costs and improve the effectiveness of training their employees," said Nancy DeViney, general manager for Learning Services at IBM. "While today's e-learning market is highly fragmented, the pairing of IBM's technologies and services and Thomson's vast course portfolio is an attractive combination for nearly every industry and profession worldwide."

Future courses jointly developed by the two companies will be based on Thomson's unique design standards and be fully interoperable with Lotus LearningSpace, leveraging IBM's advanced learning management and "live virtual classroom" technologies. These courses -- which blend books, computer-based training and classroom-led training -- rely on collaborative technologies that enable instructors and students to participate in an online classroom from their own computers. Using Lotus LearningSpace, instructors and students can access self-study materials, participate in "live virtual classroom" sessions, work together on shared learning activities, and be tested for skill mastery while the system automatically tracks participant progress.

"Our clients will be able to access the best possible combination of products and services to meet their learning needs, while we collaborate on a future that will revolutionize corporate and professional learning," said Alex Brnilovich, president and CEO of Thomson Enterprise Learning. "Together, our companies can create a learning environment that fits the entire enterprise and is unsurpassed in its ability to address mission-critical business priorities."

IBM and Thomson will boast the world's largest e-learning sales force and support team, enabling customers to access and leverage the vast portfolio of IBM and Thomson courses anywhere their employees are located. Courses will be available in 21 languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Hungarian and Polish.

Like many companies, IBM and Thomson increasingly rely on e-learning to further the education, training, and development of their own organizations. More than 40 percent of IBM's employee training and education is conducted via e-learning. IBM is one of Thomson's largest customers, offering more than 1,300 Thomson courses to employees through its corporate intranet. Thomson also provides a range of internal employee learning programs to its employees via Thomson University, including a blended learning initiative in which employees can earn an MBA online from Cardean University.

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