IBM on Monday announced it has acquired Cast Iron Systems, a privately held company based in Mountain View, CA that specializes in cloud integration software, appliances, and services.
"The integration challenges Cast Iron Systems is tackling are crucial to clients who are looking to adopt alternative delivery models to manage their businesses," said Craig Hayman, general manager, IBM WebSphere. "The combination of IBM and Cast Iron Systems will make it easy for clients to integrate business applications, no matter where those applications reside. This will give clients greater agility and as a result, better business outcomes," he said.
With the addition of Cast Iron Systems to its portfolio, IBM says it will be able to offer clients a complete platform to integrate cloud applications from providers including Salesforce.com, Amazon, NetSuite, and ADP with on-premise applications, such as SAP and JD Edwards.
Office buildings in the United States are woefully behind the times and have failed to keep pace with the revolution in automation that pervades modern life, according to a new survey of American office workers by IBM.
"Urban environments are experiencing growth at a rate where better efficiency at the system level is key," said Rich Lechner, vice president, Energy and Environment for IBM. "Yet, even as automobiles, transportation systems, electrical grids and other modern systems are achieving greater efficiency, many office buildings remain rooted in the past. Bridging this 'Intelligence Gap' can create huge savings in energy and maintenance costs and improve a company's bottom line, as well as create a healthier, more productive workforce."
Some of the numbers are pretty startling. For example, the cumulative time office workers spent stuck in an elevator in the past year totaled 33 years across the 16 cities in which the survey was given. The time spent waiting for an elevator was even worse, totaling 92 years, while 25 percent of respondents said that the elevators in their office buildings are poorly coordinated.
Only 33 percent of the 6,486 office workers surveyed rated their office buildings "somewhat high," "very high," or "extremely high" in terms of environmental responsibility, while 75 percent said they would be more likely to conserve resources at work if they were rewarded for their efforts.
IBM on Monday posted better than expected earnings and sales numbers along with double digit revenue growth. Diluted earnings of $1.70 per share in the first quarter represented a 16 percent increase over the first quarter of 2009.
"In the first quarter, we drove significantly improved revenue growth rates from the fourth quarter across our businesses and geographies. We had strong results in strategic investment areas including growth markets, business analytics and Smarter Planet solutions," said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.
"Looking ahead, we are confident in our ability to grow revenue, and given our mix of higher-value business and productivity we will expand margins, grow profit, cash and EPS, and increase returns to shareholders. Thus, we expect full-year 2010 diluted earnings per share of at least $11.20."
IBM said it ended the quarter with $14 billion of cash on hand and generated free cash flow of $1.4 billion, up about $400 million from one year ago. In other words, life is good at IBM.
IBM on Thursday said that its Power7-based 750 Express and Power 755 models qualify as the first four-processor systems in the industry to receive an Energy Star logo.
"IBM has been a strong partner to the ENERGY STAR program," said Andrew Fanara, U.S. EPA Energy Star program manager. "U.S. EPA appreciates IBM's ongoing contributions to both the development of Energy Star IT equipment standards and their commitment to work with U.S. EPA to improve energy efficiency across the data center ecosystem to deliver environmental benefits both to the data center and through the innovative application of IT capabilities."
In order to qualify, a computer system has to meet specific power supply and energy efficiency ratings, as well as provide users with data on power use, thermal output, and processor utilization.
According to IBM, its Power 750 Express and Power 755 systems are three to four times more energy efficient than the Power6 systems they replace.
Canonical and Simmtronics on Thursday announced that the Simmtronics netbook, the Simmbook, is now available to emerging markets for just $190
The Simmbook comes preloaded with IBM Client for Smart Work, a software package that includes IBM Lotus Symphony, access to IBM LotusLive cloud collaboration services, and choice of adding more IBM Lotus collaboration software like Lotus Notes and Lotus Sametime, IBM said.
"As Africa makes economic strides during a time when new technologies like cloud computing are emerging, the Simmbook netbook with LotusLive, Lotus Symphony, Lotus Notes, and Ubuntu Linux provides businesses with a complete solution at an affordable price," said Clifford Foster, IBM sub-Saharan CTO.
Surprisingly, the sub-$200 netbook doesn't come terribly gimped and includes an Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB of DDR2-667 memory, a 10.1-inch screen, 160GB hard drive, 1.3MP webcam, three USB ports, a 3-cell battery, and other common elements found in a last-gen netbook.
IBM hasn't exactly been forthcoming about when it will ship its 8-core Power7 servers, but in the meantime, there's still plenty of Power6 inventory to clear out. To help do that, Big Blue has implemented some pretty hefty price cuts.
According to The Register, a processor book based on 4.2GHz dual-core Power6 chips without any memory activated with all the cores turned off now costs $33,456, a savings of 32 percent. Activating each core costs $16,796, also a 32 percent savings prior to the cuts.
This is a similar approach to the one IBM took last June when it cut prices to spur sales, including memory, which saw drops range anywhere from 28 to 70 percent.
Not that Big Blue's ego needs any more stroking, but according to a new survey, IBM is trusted by consumers more than any other IT company when it comes to securing and protecting personal information and overall privacy.
"We are honored to be recognized by consumers as the most trusted business-to-business company in Ponemon Institute's survey," said Harriet Pearson, vice president, Security Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at IBM. "As data rapidly moves from the desktop to the cloud, consumers are more aware and concerned than ever about the security and privacy of their personal and sensitive information. IBMers worldwide are committed to delivering trusted and secure technologies, services and solutions that protect the privacy of our clients' most valuable and critical assets and operations.
On a related note, the study reported that 41 percent of consumers feel they have control over their personal information, which is down from 45 percent last year, and 56 percent from 2006. Identity theft ranked as the top concern and a major factor in brand trust diminishment, while half of those surveyed said notice of a data breach was a big factor.
In the highly competitive enterprise storage sector, IBM this week had reason to celebrate, saying it achieved the highest growth among the top three storage vendors.
According to a market share report by IDC, IBM's external disk storage systems revenue grew by 9 percent year-over-year during the fourth quarter of 2009, putting the company's growth rate well ahead of the competition. By contrast, EMC stayed relatively flat with a 0.7 percent decline, while Hewlett Packard's revenue took a backwards slide to the tune of 7.3 percent during the same quarter.
Big Blue also noted gains in the Windows and Linux OS segments in 2009, boasting a 24 percent increase in Linux storage. What makes this particularly noteworthy is that the overall Linux storage market was down 4 percent.
Most would probably agree that the patent system in the U.S. is busted and could use an overhaul. What's surprising, however, is that IBM would push for change, yet that's actually what Big Blue is doing.
IBM, which for the 17th consecutive year earned the most U.S. patents of any company with 4,914 and holds more than 30,000 altogether, said it is endorsing the compromise on U.S. patent reform legislation announced by Senate leaders.
"The leadership of Senators Leahy, Sessions and others has forged a compromise bill that works for all members of the intellectual property community and represents real progress on patent reform," said Robert Weber, senior vice president, Legal and Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel, IBM. "Modernizing the patent system, as outlined in this bill, will protect inventors and promote innovation."
According to IBM, the first significant update to the nation's patent laws in more than 50 years would bolster American competitiveness in the global economy and help stimulate innovation. We agree, we just didn't expect to hear it from IBM.
The tough times continue for those employed in the tech industry, and Big Blue in particular. According to the Alliance@IBM/CWA Local 1701, IBM has issued about 400 layoff notices.
Lee Conrad, national coordinator of the Alliance, believes this is the just the first wave of more layoffs to come, though he didn't say how many he believes will get the axe. Neither did IBM, who rarely does, saying only that this is a result of a remixing of "our skills and structure to meet the changing needs of our clients."
IBM employs about 400,000 workers around the world. According to Conrad, the latest cuts are the result of a shift to offshore work. Big Blue employees around 105,000 U.S. workers, compared to 115,000 one year ago.