IBM to go head-to-head with Google and Cisco in cloud comms market

2 Oct 2009

The computing giant affectionately termed Big Blue is anything but cuddly and has demonstrated its penchant for strategic incisions of new markets with news that not only is it bringing out inexpensive web apps to compete with Google Apps, but it also has eyes on the video conferencing lead by Cisco.

It is understood that IBM will next week introduce a light email service called LotusLive iNotes that will cost US$36 a year, 25pc less than what Google charges corporate for its Google Apps package.

The company could seek to capitalise on the damage wrought by the crash last month of Google’s Gmail service, which left millions of users without email for two hours.

IBM’s brand cachet, and its decades of experience serving the business market embodied in the old adage “you never get fired for buying IBM,” could serve to open many doors of firms yet to embrace cloud-computing concepts.

The move comes just days after Google unveiled Google Wave, a new paradigm in communications that embraces aspects of real-time messaging like Twitter and Facebook, traditional email and future collaboration. Google Wave is essentially a collaborative web tool where messages and content can be shared, co-edited and collaborated on but mixed with Google Mail in that all contacts can be “blipped” or messaged, and all related images, folders and tags associated with them are gathered in one place.

In related news, IBM yesterday announced new services to help companies around the world improve global communications, reduce their carbon footprint and save costs on travel expenses.

For the first time, IBM is delivering a managed service to make it easy to implement and operate a video communications solution enabling smarter collaboration between employees, customers and partners around the world. The new IBM Converged Communications Services – Managed Telepresence service includes design, implementation, concierge and help desk, integration with client calendaring application, remote operations, and maintenance and support.

IBM Global Financing will also offer flexible billing and payment options for the new solution.

At IBM, there are video communications solutions available throughout the world to facilitate global communications functions, including support for business management, products and services development, education and audits.

Currently, there are more than 30 different clients whom IBM can connect with through a business-to-business connection, and scheduling is as simple as adding the rooms to a LotusNotes meeting invitation.

“With this new managed service and the largest trained and fully accredited implementation team, IBM is a global leader in delivering Cisco TelePresence solutions worldwide,” said Marisa Viveros, vice-president of Converged Communications Services of Global Technology Services at IBM.

“The solution delivers invaluable benefits to clients, especially given IBM’s worldwide delivery and support capability that meets the needs of our global customers who are looking for more than a ‘one size fits all’ solution,” Viveros said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: IBM will next week introduce a light email service called LotusLive iNotes.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years