IBM: Covering Its Bases

February 12, 2009

The love affair between IBM and Microsoft cooled years ago. After the divorce, Microsoft took the bank account and the personal computer industry. IBM entered counseling and emerged a consulting firm with some fascination for its former vocation as world’s leading computer and software company.

Jump to the present day. IBM has batted its eyes at Googzilla. IBM and Google have teamed to stimulate the flow of programmers from universities. You can refresh your memory here. In 2008, I received a copy of a letter to an intermediary that said, in part, we understand Googzilla quite well. The outfit interested in this answer was not the addled goose. The interested party was a certain government agency. That outfit was not confident IBM understood Googzilla fully. I wrote about this in a Web log story last year. You can find the article here.

IBM issued a news release here that has been picked up by various information services. The headline makes clear that IBM is not going steady with the GOOG: “IBM to Deliver Software via Cloud Computing With Amazon Web Services”. You can read the full article here. In a nutshell, IBM wants to

make available new Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) at no charge for development and test purposes, enabling software developers to quickly build pre-production applications based on IBM software within Amazon EC2. The new portfolio will over time extend to include Service Management capabilities from IBM Tivoli software for Amazon EC2 to help clients better control and automate their dynamic infrastructures in the cloud.

The idea is a good one. But the significance of this deal is that IBM is making clear to the GOOG that a certain someone is no longer numero uno. IBM is playing the field. Amazon has outpaced Google in some cloud services and by spending a fraction of the billions Google has invested. What’s IBM know that I don’t?

Stephen Arnold, February 12, 2009


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