IBM's Brain-Like Chip
IBM has unveiled a computer chip designed to mimic the human brain. The chip might beat you at pong, a company researcher says. IBM

The two biggest computer giants continued their buying spree as Hewlett-Packard snapped up HiFlex while IBM said it will acquire Curam Software.

Notably, the No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. computer giants both bought smaller companies outside the U.S., where they have most of their cash and derive most of their revenue.

HP said it will acquire HiFlex, based in Aachen, Germany, for an undisclosed amount to bolster its printing services division. HiFlex specializes in services for the printing and professional graphics industry.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP is the world's largest manufacturer of printers for enterprises and consumers through its Imaging and Printing Group. But it also serves the commercial publishing sector with products from previously acquired Indigo, an Israel-based specialist, and other companies.

HP had about $8 billion in cash as of Oct. 31. New CEO Meg Whitman stipulated near-term acquisitions would not exceed $500 million.

Meanwhile, IBM bought Dublin-based Curam Software for an amount some services estimated around $150 million, to obtain its programs that handle social service programs for government agencies. The intention is to merge Curam with IBM's Smarter Cities initiative, which works with the public sector.

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM has worked with Curam since 1999. More than 90 percent of Curam's clients use IBM's WebSphere middleware and 70 percent use IBM hardware, the company said. A report by ITPro said Curam's revenue plunged 12.5 percent to $79.8 million last year, although CEO John Hearne said 2011 revenue should be around $100 million. Last year's pre-tax earnings were $8.2 million.

IBM reported cash and investments of $11.1 billion as of Sept. 30.

In early trading, HP shares fell 20 cents, to $27.94 while IBM shares lost 5 cents, to $190.79.