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The mid-market focus will likely put IBM in more direct competition with current leaders Amazon, Google and Salesforce.com. Shawn Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee, tells us IBM is well positioned to capture share given its industry expertise and broad set of offerings.
"We view this as a continuation of the company's efforts in cloud in recent years, including building more global centers of excellence, SmartCloud, and acquisitions including DemandTec, Green Hat, Platform Computing, Cast Iron Systems, and Kenexa," Wu said. "We believe IBM's efforts in expanding into the mid-market allow it to capture more of this growing opportunity."
Wu also sees the new effort as a strategic way for IBM to leverage its new PureSystems platform, a next-generation architecture that integrates compute, storage, and networking, and differentiates itself with a built-in expert system and analytics that are optimized for specific applications and workloads.
"Similar to Apple, we believe this is a key advantage for IBM where it can offer a platform-based, integrated solution with its vertical stack of hardware, software and services," Wu said. "We believe more cloud presence will help drive an upgrade cycle."