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IBM plans to move away from IBM Watson Health

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IBM plans to move away from IBM Watson Health by selling the unit as it looks for a future centered on cloud.

International Business Machines Corp. is exploring a potential sale of its IBM Watson Health business, according to people familiar with the matter, as the technology giant’s new chief executive moves to streamline the company and become more competitive in cloud computing.

IBM is studying alternatives for the unit that could include a sale to a private-equity firm or industry player or a merger with a blank-check company, the people said. The unit, which employs artificial intelligence to help hospitals, insurers and drugmakers manage their data, has roughly $1 billion in annual revenue and isn’t currently profitable, the people said.

Its brands include Merge Healthcare, which analyzes mammograms and MRIs; Phytel, which assists with patient communications; and Truven Health Analytics, which analyzes complex healthcare data.