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Businesses China IBM Hardware

Lenovo To Buy IBM's Server Business For $2.3 Billion 160

itwbennett writes "Well, that was fast. Earlier this week the rumor mill was getting revved up about a potential sale of IBM's x86 server business, with Lenovo, Dell, and Fujitsu reportedly all interested in scooping it up. On Thursday, Lenovo Group announced it has agreed to buy IBM's x86 server hardware business and related maintenance services for $2.3 billion. The deal encompasses IBM's System x, BladeCenter and Flex System blade servers and switches, x86-based Flex integrated systems, NeXtScale and iDataPlex servers and associated software, blade networking and maintenance operations. IBM will retain its System z mainframes, Power Systems, Storage Systems, Power-based Flex servers, and PureApplication and PureData appliances." SlashBI has some words from an analyst about why Lenovo wants the x86 product line more than IBM does.
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Lenovo To Buy IBM's Server Business For $2.3 Billion

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  • Over 30 years (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Koen Lefever ( 2543028 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @09:59AM (#46045321)
    I remember thinking "too little, too late" when IBM launched its x86 line (the IBM 5150 PC with 8088 CPU) in 1981.

    Damn, over 30 years later and we're still stuck with a variant of that architecture!
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @10:11AM (#46045449) Homepage
    eh, greybeard here so maybe its the metamucil talking but IBM never stood much chance in the server realm. not that they didnt make a damn fine x86...most were quiet and powerful, but the market hat was looking toward IBM was too different and weird.

    if you wanted a workstation for simple 2D cad stuff your clear alternative was dell. it was cheap, came with whatever copy of windows you wanted, and didnt bankrupt your small shop with overhead from licensing and support contracts....other than whatever autodesk was gouging you for.

    a litle higher up the chain, if you were doing some composite rendering or computational fluid thermodynamics you had Sun microsystems. they made the bulletproof UNIX the grads from the local alma-mater recognized, and the hardware was dependable. sun servers chugged through the heavy arithmetic but the deskside SPARCstation was the sterling ally of the well-weathered fogie in the corner office who occasionally appeared for his 'laureate engineer' paperweight. the IT department appreciated suns no-nonsense RTFM mentality.

    BIS, corporate informatics and number-crunchery that fed paychecks through the line printers and requisitions across the department heads was the golden child of IBM...heck, its in the name! BUSINESS machines! the AS400 ran cobol and from its cobwebbed confines were excreted every known model and function of how the money made the business and vice versa. "terminals" kept the cost of doing dirty work down and a few cloistered chosen were sequestered into office space to stitch new lovecraftian code whenever an earnings summary needed a tweak or a new way of visualizing things 'outside the box' needed rendering in code. AS400 turned into Z's and E's and I's and soon JDEdwards became Oracle and the new reality of deadlocked transactions and segfaulted Business Objects servers were a daily bain for the IT department but the song never changed. this was to become IBM. Because the reports were a touchstone of the business these machines lived to become behemoths and their triumphs accoladed from on high by watsons and oh so many marketeers that knew no boundaries in the iron they could sell. IBM was the Iron Business Marauder, the Intractable Bloat of the Management, the only way your applications would ever imply support for your way of doing business in the ERP EAP SAP clusterfuck that BIS and management had conceeded was somehow a necessity now. IBM could never hope to sell X86, because IBM sold complicity and approval in the licensing agreements for Oracle and enterprise, not hardware.

    and while they toiled over the iron they sold, Dell and HP slowly absorbed the engineering fallout from SGI implosions and cheap commodity x86 incursion around a SUN that comparatively stood as a more expensive and only slightly quicker means of doing what the engineers had always done. Goosed a bit by linux, no doubt.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 23, 2014 @10:15AM (#46045485)

    tl;dr: commodity hardware and software, over time, takes over everything, and IBM lacks a unique selling point

    frankly I'm astonished that they outlived Sun, although both were obviously doomed

    taking bets on how long before Lenovo buys the IBM trademark? Or will they not even bother?

  • Re:Chinese Rule!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheloniousToady ( 3343045 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @10:36AM (#46045667)

    Look at it this way: the Chinese may feel rich enough to pay $2.3 billion for server business, but only Americans feel rich enough to pay $3.2 billion for a thermostat business. So, who has the bigger Nest egg?

  • by shadowknot ( 853491 ) * on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:25AM (#46046163) Homepage Journal
    The truth is that IBM's primary server market has never been its x86 offerings. The pSeries and System z market is much more lucrative what with engine licensing (CP, IFL etc) and massively expensive platform specific operating systems (z/OS, z/VSE, z/TPF, AIX etc) along with decades old products like CICS powering the vast majority of the financial world. I work closely with a contractor who worked for IBM for nearly four decades and his attitude to the distributed world is likely representative of a general antipathy to x86 on the server side within IBM (though I have no evidence other than him to back that up!) I suspect though, that the fact they can focus on "real" servers on the hardware side will probably be seen as good by most in Endicott.
  • Re:Over 30 years (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nojayuk ( 567177 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @01:19PM (#46047509)

    The 8086 family including the 8088 8-bit bus version were available to buy in commercial quantities at a time when the MC68000 was still a hangar queen with dev boards running at half the speed of the planned production machines (we tried overclocking our dev board from 4MHz to the production speed of 8MHz, didn't work). The Z8000 was even more of a pipe dream.

    In addition the 8086/8088 worked with all the 8080-family bus chips like the serial port, parallel port, interrupt controller, 8087 maths chip etc. The MC68k had to fake all that functionality with separate and expensive silicon (no affordable FPGA chips back then). Software -- the 8086 was deliberately designed with an 8080-family structure of registers and memory access internally which made it easy to port existing CP/M code over to the new platform and Intel wrote compilers and provided other tools to make that job easy. The MC68k was a dream to write new code for but it took a lot more effort to get something, anything working on it.

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