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Saturday, April 4, 2009

IBM to Start Selling Software for Cloud Computing

Enters competition with Microsoft and Google

IBM will reportedly sell a suite of Web-based applications, including instant messaging, contact management and file sharing programs for businesses. This is part of the company's biggest effort in trying to sell software as a service, a move that has been announced on Wednesday and which has put IBM in a direct competition with other leading companies, including Microsoft, Google and privately held Zoho.

According to a recent news-article reported by Reuters, companies that will start using IBM's software will be charged between $10 and $45 per month, as the applications will be hosted on IBM's servers and delivered via the Internet. According to the company, the suite will be available on April 7. “What you are seeing are the beginnings of the whole IBM company moving toward cloud computing,” IBM Vice President Sean Poulley said.

IBM's move is somewhat to be expected, especially since cloud computing is becoming one of the industry's biggest buzz concepts. The term is associated to a practice by which a variety of IT companies provide end-users with various computing services by using the Internet and remote data centers. The cloud refers to a virtual space that is used to access the data that is stored on a number of data centers worldwide. To access that data, users are required only to have an Internet-capable device, thus further minimizing the need for high-end computer systems that take a lot of space and are power hungry.

According to the latest estimations by tech research company Gartner, the global market for cloud-based computing services, software and storage will total about $10 billion in 2009. However, on the other side, the traditional business software model will account for about $223 billion, according to Gartner estimations. Still the industry is increasingly interested in the development and adoption of cloud computing, which will probably become the standard business model in the near future.

IBM to Start Selling Software for Cloud Computing

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