IBM: Watson, What Is Going On?

January 27, 2021

I want to keep this brief. IBM is a company anchored in the past, and its management is demonstrating that agility, pivoting, buzzwords, and sci-fi technology are not working in the money department. “International Business Machines : IBM Shares Are an Anomaly in a Hot Tech Sector” like hearing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” in a karaoke bar in Osaka.

Does this sound familiar? It seems as if Market Screener is recycling boilerplate:

The simple answer for IBM’s stock performance? It hasn’t delivered the growth expected of technology companies. Although IBM snapped a 22-quarter streak of falling sales in January 2018, briefly reviving some investors’ hopes for a successful turnaround, it has largely failed to post strong results since then, trailing behind rivals like Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud computing business.

Is it fair to compare IBM with Amazon, Google, or any other digital dervish? No. A more apt comparison should be drawn with other companies anchored in adding machines and mainframes.

If we ask Watson, what do we get?

Answer: A link to a news item about Watson winning jeopardy. Interesting but not what the stakeholders need.

Stephen E Arnold, January 27, 2021

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