Many viewed the advent of netbooks as a golden opportunity for Linux to capture the popular imagination. But netbook vendors and users never really warmed up to Linux. It might have failed to grab one massive opportunity, but it has a chance at redemption in the booming market for mobile internet-enabled devices.
British chip designer ARM and five system-on-chip (SoC) vendors – IBM, Freescale Semiconductor, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments - have formed a not-for-profit company called Linaro to provide “new resources and industry alignment for open source software developers using Linux on the world’s most sophisticated semiconductor System-on-Chips (SoCs).”
Linaro will be rolling out new releases of optimized tools, kernel and middleware software every six months, making Linux-based distributions such as Android, LiMo, MeeGo, Ubuntu and webOS compatible with semiconductor offerings from different vendors. This should, in turn, help reduce time-to-market for ARM- and Linux-based devices, including smart phones, tablets, digital televisions, automotive entertainment and enterprise equipment.
"ARM and our partners have a long history of working with, and supporting, open source software development for complex SoCs based on the ARM architecture," said Warren East, ARM CEO. "As a founding member of Linaro, we are working together with the broader open source community to accelerate innovation for the next generation of computing, focusing on delivering a rich connected experience across the diversity of devices in our daily lives."
IBM will spend about $1.4 billion in cash acquiring AT&T subsidiary Sterling Commerce, which specializes in business-to-business (B2B) commerce solutions and data integration software, the two companies announced today.
"Businesses today are operating in a highly competitive global environment in which lines between actions taking place within and outside an organization's four walls are blurring," said Craig Hayman, general manager, WebSphere, IBM. "This acquisition will give IBM new tools to help clients build dynamic business networks that connect partners, suppliers and clients and deliver a consistent customer experience across channels. In addition, the fact that much of this can be done in the cloud will make it compelling to large numbers of our customers."
IBM said it plans to integrate about 2,500 Sterling Commerce employees into the WebSphere organization within IBM's Software Group. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2010, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Taking aim at organizations interested in running scientific and commercial applications on graphics processors, IBM this week updated its iDataPlex servers to now includes GPUs from Nvidia. According to David Turek, vice president of deep computing at IBM's Systems and Technology Group, Nvidia's M2050 GPUs will be faster at executing certain tasks than traditional CPUs.
Some possible clients could include scientific labs run by governments or oil and gas exploration companies where it's common for software to be developed from the ground up, Turek explained. In doing so, these types of organizations can optimize their programs to run faster on GPUs.
Back in 2008, IBM's iDataPlex servers were marketed as a foundation for cloud computing, says Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. By adding GPUs to the mix, IBM's iDataPlex line sets itself even further apart from the competition.
"This is evidence that IBM is seeing that architecture as being more flexible than a foundation for cloud computing," King said.
So why go with Nvidia over ATI? The expanded use of CUDA, says Turek, who also pointed out the increasing popularity of OpenCL, which is backed by industry heavyweights AMD, Apple, Intel, and Nvidia.
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.