After IBM sold its PC division to Lenovo back in 2005, it seemed likely IBM would also in time shed itself of its only marginally profitable commodity x86 server division. Now IBM's done just that by selling its x86 server division to Lenovo as well, a move long rumored to be in the works.
But this $2.3 billion sale isn't merely about Lenovo trying to find new markets and profitability in commodity hardware. With it, Lenovo could in time become an IBM -- a sales-and-software juggernaut -- with IBM's current customers as a starting point.
Dispelling any lingering doubt that IBM sees cloud computing as the way of the future, the company announced that it will invest US$1.2 billion in 2014 in expanding its global cloud infrastructure.
"Having lots of data centers in lots of different countries around the world will be important in the long term," said IBM SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby. "We want the world to understand that cloud is transformational for IBM."
IBM is developing software that will allow organizations to use multiple cloud storage services interchangeably, reducing dependence on any single cloud vendor and ensuring that data remains available even during service outages.
Managing its way nimbly through times of economic sluggishness, IBM reported a 6 percent increase in profit for the third quarter even as its revenue declined.
IBM's third-quarter profit was $4.0 billion, compared to $3.8 billion in the third quarter of 2012, the company announced Wednesday. Revenue was $23.7 billion, compared to $24.7 billion in the year prior.
IBM has begun integrating its cloud portfolio with cloud computing infrastructure from its US$2 billion acquisition of SoftLayer Technologies, starting with its social learning platform targeted at a variety of industries.
IBM loves Linux -- so much so, in fact, that it's pledged $1 billion for Linux development over the next five years. So what's IBM planning to buy for its $1 billion?
Power -- as in a far broader market for its Power line of high-end server processors. Stimulating Linux application development for Power will make it easier for the company to bring new markets to that high-end chip set.
Deploying an update of its DB2 database, IBM is pitching its SmartCloud IaaS (infrastructure as a service) for use in data reporting and analysis.
"We're the only player in the marketplace that has [a cloud service] for data-in-motion -- being able to analyze data in real time," said Bob Picciano, IBM's general manager for Information Management.
IBM today unveiled MessageSight, a 2U appliance that would serve as a cornerstone to Big Blue's "Internet of things" vision: The hardware is a big data orchestrator, and according to IBM, it's capable of handling up to 13 million incoming messages per second flowing in from up to 1 million different sensors installed in anything -- automobiles, medical equipment, home appliances, mobile devices -- such that the data can be transformed into useful information.
Already a platinum member of the cloud operating system platform OpenStack, IBM officials said open source code from the project will be the foundation of the company's cloud strategy moving forward, including a new product it announced today. At the company's Pulse show in Las Vegas, IBM announced SmartCloud Orchestrator, a service that helps customers configure the compute, storage and networking resources for applications to run on the company's SmartCloud platform.
IBM is making a renewed push into the burgeoning market for all things mobile, saying it can help its corporate customers grow revenue and become more competitive through mobile app development.
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