每日更新:IBM的中断,IBM 2015年利润目标的另一种观点,IBM向GlobalFoundries出售Fabs

早上好,

自从我创办Stratechery以来,IBM就是一家我一直想写的公司,本周是一个重要的一周所以今天是井喷。

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IBM的中断

在许多方面,IBM都是一个奇迹100多年前,通过制表制造商的合并诞生,IBM一直以企业为中心:关于制表机维基百科笔记:

该公司专注于为企业提供大规模,定制的制表解决方案,将小型办公产品市场留给其他人。

这是IBM对其整个存在的运作方式,以及引导他们度过一些最黑暗时刻的指路明灯The most famous of these came in the early 1990s, when IBM, having lost the dominant position in computing it had established with the System/360 and expanded with the IBM PC in the 1980s, was on the verge of going bankrupt and planning to break itself apart to better compete with its more nimble competitors (something that certainly sounds familiar given the recent news about eBay, Symantec, and especially HP).

正是在那个关键时刻,Lou Gerstner--一位不仅仅是IBM而且是技术行业的局外人 - 被任命为首席执行官此外,正是他的局外人观点帮助他意识到IBM的关键竞争优势在于它做了所有事情,允许他们用上面引用的话说,“提供大规模,定制的 制表 solutions for businesses, leaving the market for small office products to others.” And so Gerstner changed IBM’s entire business from selling products to selling “solutions”, and at just the perfect time: soon companies realized this Internet thing was pretty important, and they had best get online, and there was IBM, already solving their internal IT issues, ready to hold their hand as they moved onto the Internet.

这种对企业的明确关注和解决复杂问题的能力 - 以及由此产生的锁定 - 使IBM相对不受消费者驱动的变化的影响,这些变化正在损害其许多潜在的竞争对手更重要的是,IBM确信他们的免疫力是永久性的。

Back in 2010, then-CEO Sam Palmisano announced that IBM was committed to delivering $20/share in profit by 2015; it is this commitment that many blame for IBM’s current troubles (this优秀的文章in BusinessWeek that I linked to in May is probably the best articulation of this line of thinking), but I think the commitment to a particular profit number – and the associated willingness to cut to get there – was actually a symptom of the aforementioned overconfidence in IBM’s position.同时宣布2015年计划,帕米萨诺说:

[共识认为]产品周期将推动行业增长该行业正在整合,并且最终消费者技术将在过去20年中消除所有计算机科学。

我是东海岸人我们的观点略有不同产品周期不会推动可持续增长未来的客户将需要可量化的投资回报他们不打算购买时尚和潮流。

企业将拥有自己独特的模式你无法做我们在云端做的事情。

很难相信,但这些话是在四年前发表的“你不能做我们在云端做的事情。”相比之下,IBM的高管们在28天期间发出了世界“云”的声音。周一的财报电话会议他们在哪里公布收益下降和放弃上述利润目标。

然而,再次,目标是一个症状,而不是原因,因为它遵循彭明盛的信念,企业总是需要“大规模,定制 制表 解决方案“只有IBM才能提供The cloud, with its consumer-esque ease-of-use – and more importantly, associated uniformity/lack of customizability – didn’t fit enterprise’s “unique model.” To put it another way, IBM was already in trouble by the time Palmisano made that goal; being competitive in the cloud in 2014 would have meant significant investment in 2010, which would have meant believing lots of businesses would ultimately do what IBM was doing “in a cloud.” And, had IBM appreciated where the world was going and committed to it, there is no way that Palmisano could have countenanced the profit goal症状,不是原因。

从更广泛的角度来看,显然帕米萨诺从格斯特纳的转变中吸取了错误的教训In his view IBM abandoned broadly applied product development for customized solutions; why would the world go backwards to broadly applicable products, no matter how they were delivered? “You can’t do what we’re doing in a cloud.”

The thing is, Palmisano was right; something that is interesting about most cloud solutions is that few are really doing anything new相反,云服务提供商只是采取以前在内部完成的操作,并将其移至可供任何企业使用的云中而且,正如Palmisano所认识到的那样,在这种模式中固有的定制缺乏意味着大多数云服务都是基于功能的,而不是内部部署的软件。

The reality, though, is that the businesses IBM served – and the entire reason IBM had a market – didn’t buy customized technological solutions to make themselves feel good about themselves; they bought them because they helped them accomplish their business objectivesGerstner的关键洞察力是,许多公司遇到的问题只有IBM可以解决,而不是定制的解决方案是最终的全部 - 全部因此,随着普遍提供的云服务缓慢但肯定变得足够好,IBM不再垄断解决问题。

简而言之:IBM被劣质技术打乱,他们认为这种技术低劣而且被立即解雇,直到为时已晚这几乎是教科书。

关于IBM 2015年利润目标的替代观点

IBM还有另一个迷人的角度,这是Palmisano利润目标的产物我在Stratechery和Exponent上玩过的一个主张是,公司是否有必要尝试永远生活流行的情绪是他们应该:见证有多少人批评IBM在过去十年里回报给股东的所有钱。

But step back for a moment: instead of feeding that money to a sprawling company (still over 400,000 employees!), by buying back stock and issuing big dividends IBM has allowed investors to put that money to work elsewhere, and I’m sure some of it has made its way to a few of the startups that are currently upsetting IBM’s businessFrom an economic perspective, this is great news! I’ve written that初创公司成功是因为他们有更好的激励所以我们都不应该高兴IBM不浪费数十亿美元参与竞争吗?

In summary, IBM is in trouble because Palmisano prioritized shareholders over IBM’s long-term health (whether or not that was intentional), but one can argue that the industry as a whole is better off.

IBM将Fabs出售给GlobalFoundries

许多技术人员可以理解地专注于IBM将其微电子业务“出售”给GlobalFoundries“销售”在引用中,因为IBM实际上向GlobalFoundries支付了15亿美元,以便将业务从他们手中夺走。

This payment gets at why this transaction isn’t as big of a deal as it seems: IBM gets to take a lot of capital off of its books (improving its return on invested capital), but is completely beholden to GlobalFoundries both contractually and because IBM’s POWER uses copper-based chips换句话说,它不像IBM可以突然进行价格比较代工厂。

It’s harder to see what GlobalFoundries gets out of the deal, although I bet it has a lot to do with patents; IBM has a lot of them when it comes to chips, which will allow GlobalFoundries to negotiate new cross-licenses, significantly reducing the cost structure of their current fabs and enabling them to be more competitive with TSMC and Samsung in particular (and Intel if they ever enter the foundry-for-hire business).

Taking this back to IBM, though, it shows the degree to which IBM itself has become much less of a solution company: back in the 90s IBM provided everything a business needed, from PCs to servers to customized software, with a hefty consulting fee to make it all workBy the mid-2000s, though, PCs were pure commodities, so IBM dumped the business, and earlier this year, IBM did the same to their x86 server line; the writing is now on the wall for POWER这就是为什么IBM不认为他们的软件会发生同样的民主化和商品化的原因,特别是一旦没有任何东西可以捆绑在一起。


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