The entry of IBM Global Services into the bioinformatics field is a bit like Gulliver entering the land of the Lilliputians - the headcount at existing bioinformatics companies would be barely a blip on Big Blue's payroll.

But, as with Gulliver, IBM's size may not make it automatically dominant. While IBM may be able to provide large-scale solutions to big companies that others cannot - as last week's technology infrastructure deal with Chiron Corp. illustrates - neither IBM nor its competitors and their customers see the larger company immediately displacing smaller companies in the application of computing to biological data. Rather, the bioinformatics sector will, at least for the moment, remain fragmented with different companies providing complementary capabilities.