IBM Goes Back to the 90s

The transformation of Microsoft under Satya Nadella is one of the most significant business narratives of the mid-2010s. But the 90s version of Nadella was the transformation of IBM under CEO Lou Gerstner. This piece does a great job outlining how he was able to come into IBM as an outsider, turn back its inward facing instincts, and use it’s size to not just be mediocre, but offer the “one throat to choke” for businesses turning to the internet.

IBM has been somewhat adrift financially over the past five years. But Ben Thompson outlines how the recent acquisition of Red Hat gives IBM the opportunity to take a similar position to the cloud as they did to internet commerce back in the 90s.

Ben Thompson comments:

This is the bet: while in the 1990s the complexity of the Internet made it difficult for businesses to go online, providing an opening for IBM to sell solutions, today IBM argues the reduction of cloud computing to three centralized providers makes businesses reluctant to commit to any one of them. IBM is betting it can again provide the solution, combining with Red Hat to build products that will seamlessly bridge private data centers and all of the public clouds.

Read more at: IBM’s Old Playbook

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.