IBM announced something today they called the “Blue Cloud” initiative that is a “game-changing model for Internet-scale computing”. Some thoughts and questions:
- This is a seriously half-baked announcement. The press release rambles on and on yet says very little. This “next major advance in computing” merits a single page on IBM’s web site with two paragraphs of text and a stock photo. IBM is the ultimate in top-down companies and tends to broadly execute against a single marketing theme. Their current Innovation campaign seems to be ramping down and the replacement will no doubt start up in the spring heralding ”the next major advance in computing”. So why this rushed announcement? Why allude to the broad theme if you’re not ready to execute against it? Who needs to know today that “IBM’s first Blue Cloud offerings” will ship next year even if it isn’t clear what those offerings are?
- What is Blue Cloud exactly? What makes it “game-changing”? IBM repackaging some relatively obscure open source software? IBM trying as usual to position the mainframe as the answer to whatever the question is? Another offering delivered via a few busloads of consultants?
- Why do the announce in Shanghai when the only customer was the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology?
- What ever happened to OnDemand? They’re revisiting the same themes. They could have even called it OnDemand 2.0…
- Where is the statement about spending “$1 billion” or more on this initiative? IBM doesn’t do anything without promising to spend at least <Dr. Evil voice> $1 billion </Dr. Evil voice>.
- Shouldn’t there have been a press conference in Second Life? Or is this a sign that IBM’s previous game-changing, next major advance for computing is officially over?
- Is IBM just going to package up some open source software or are they going to put their money where their mouth is and make the capital expenditures to build out serious data center capacity to support cloud computing by their customers? Microsoft spent about $2.3 billion on datacenter capex last year and will likely spend even more this year. Google was around $2 billion. Yahoo came in a distant third with only about $600 million. Given all their financial engineering needs to support their private LBO strategy, does IBM have the money to play in this game for real or will they settle for hazy press releases?