The long-standing relationship between the world's largest air carrier, American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) has expanded to include  Big Blue's cloud-related Bluemix product suite. With this deal, the airline will be moving more of its enterprise applications to IBM's cloud. Financial terms were not disclosed.

According to the announcement, American Airlines opted to do more business with its partner of some 60 years due to IBM's global cloud footprint, which includes more than 50 data centers and the flexibility of its Bluemix cloud platform. Bluemix includes comprehensive data analytics via IBM's cognitive computing system, Watson, along with app development and multiple server alternatives.

The new deal with American Airlines will help IBM maintain its momentum relating to all things cloud-related, which it demonstrated again last quarter.

Of IBM's  $12.7 billion annual cloud revenue run-rate in its third quarter, $7.5 billion -- up an impressive 66% compared to a year ago -- was derived from software-as-a-service (SaaS) sales. With cloud SaaS a key component of CEO Ginni Rometty's "strategic imperatives" initiative, that source is expected to propel its revenue growth in the burgeoning market.

Along with business-process-as-a service (BPaaS) solutions, cloud software sales are expected to generate a combined $80.3 billion this  year, and there is no indication that rapid growth will slow anytime soon. That's great news for IBM as it positions itself as the cloud industry leader, and now it can add yet another significant win to its name.


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Tim Brugger has no position in any stocks mentioned. 

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