Saturday, June 29, 2013

Why IBM could become the next Google

IBM was once the company to beat. First it was Amdal who competed against IBM in mainframes. The microcomputers came about and a small company named Apple wanted to take marketshare from IBM, and they did. IBM fought back with the IBM PC, which did well, but they made a mistake in licensing the operating system from Microsoft. When the IBM PC Clones came out, Microsoft licensed the OS to them as well as IBM. Eventually Microsoft became what IBM once was and all but put Apple out of business including others like Commodore, Atari, etc.

IBM tried with OS/2 but once again Microsoft stabbed them in the back by withdrawing from supporting OS/2 and making Windows 95 and Windows NT and deals with OEMS to preinstall them on PCs, and to not install OS/2 instead. Even if an OEM installed OS/2 they owed Microsoft for a copy of Windows.

Lotus tried to take on IBM, but IBM bought them out. IBM just dropped the Lotus 123 and other apps, but kept Lotus Domino. IBM Lotus SmartSuite is gone, and IBM Lotus Symphony exists instead which is based on OpenOffice.Org.

IBM found restored revenue in Linux, and dropped the PC line to Lenovo. IBM got out of the PC business and went into the software business. Linux replaced OS/2.

But IBM is working on web servers and web apps. Could they be developing their own search engine, web email, web document storage, and other services? Is IBM becoming the next Google?

While I don't see IBM making any more Windows apps, they can make Linux and Android apps, maybe even some iOS and Mac OSX apps. Windows 8 pretty much killed the Windows market, and the Apple iPhone and iPad are taking people away from Windows Surface tablets because they are superior. Android is a very big thing too, and it beats the Surface prices by half. Linux grows, as Microsoft drops support for older Windows versions, those Older Windows users are switching to Linux instead. If IBM plays their cards right they can write apps for those platforms to use their web services and then take on Google.

In fact IBM invented the smartphone in 1994 called the IBM Simon, I think they have the mother of all IP lawsuits waiting to get filed. But instead they should settle out of court and make deals with Google/, Samsung, and Apple to share technologies and then build apps for these other smartphone platforms and tablet platforms.

The main reason why IBM lost so much money in Windows software, is that each new Windows service pack was designed to break compatibility with IBM's apps so Microsoft could sell theirs to replace them. When IBM could no longer sell their software, they started to look into web software and web services. That could be the very thing that not only saves IBM, but makes them the next Google.