The truth is, IBM has little choice but to focus on cloud infrastructure and applications and big data. IBM does not sell an X86 operating system, as do Microsoft and Red Hat do, although it does have WebSphere middleware and DB2 databases that some enterprise customers want. Moreover, the current strategy of exiting the commodity hardware business that represents the dominate platform in use by corporations the world over is, ironically as well as sadly, IBM’s only option as the world’s largest provider of IT services and one of the world’s largest and certainly most profitable system software makers. The company has spent billions on various companies that peddle marketing and sales applications in the past few years, and it is most definitely back in the application software business. But this time, the applications are going to be running on the SoftLayer cloud and IBM is going to try to keep all of the money for itself rather than share it with downstream partners. There are more big shifts coming, IBM has to find something for its hundreds of thousands of Global Services employees to do as companies shift from paying IBM to help them integrate systems to simply buying a cloudy app from Big Blue or helping them host their own applications on SoftLayer.
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