When IBM announced the close of its acquisition of The Weather Company on Friday, it added another veteran CEO in Weather’s David Kenny to work under Big Blue boss Ginni Rometty. And IBM’s not wasting Kenny’s time on integrating his former company into the fold. So hours after the the announcement, the newly-appointed chief of the critical IBM Watson unit shared his top priority: to bring Watson together into a more cohesive product that will introduce ”artificial intelligence as a service.”
Kenny didn’t expect to spend a chapter of his career at IBM, he says, just as he didn’t expect to see the $119 billion (market cap) company move so aggressively for the non-TV units of Weather, where he was chairman and CEO. ”I’m surprised,” he says, but “I’m having a great day.” The acquisition of Weather, reported in October to be expected to cost more than $2 billion, was done to boost IBM in the Internet of Things, Kenny says. Last March, IBM announced a $3 billion commitment to such Internet-connected sensors and devices, particularly in weather. The Weather Company had made a priority to connect hundreds of millions of sensors to produce more than 20 terabytes of data a day for its apps and websites.