IBM and Microsoft try to show they can build on — and surpass — their legacies

Last week, IBM(s ibm) and Microsoft(s msft) put themselves front and center to prove that they can both capitalize on their tech legacy while pushing beyond it in the era of web-scale cloud.
On Wednesday, IBM showed some progress on its plan to reinvigorate its Power chip architecture. The company showed off a Tyan-built white box server running firmware and an OS by foundation partners IBM, Google, and Canonical.
Google’s participation was the highlight when IBM announced the foundation in August— its presence gives IBM’s Power architecture some web-scale credibility although, as far as I can tell Google has not committed to actually using Power-based servers.
If it should do so that would be huge but, as analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy pointed out in a paper — IBM has had a hard time translating “supposed speeds-and-feeds advantage into additional market share in the vital Linux internet-scale market.”
IBM, like other legacy providers, is fighting to show relevance in the era of cloud and mobile — which is hard because all these companies have roots in the client-server, on premises IT world. They may sell more cloud stuff now, but at the expense of their traditional products. It’s all about cannibalizing their own older business before Amazon, Google or someone else eats it for them. Watch for IBM to take another step in this journey Monday, when it unveils its new Cloud Marketplace.
And for more on the foundation check out the video below.
And now for Microsoft
Analysts and stock watchers were pleased with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s performance on the company’s third-quarter earnings call First, his very appearance on the call — unusual if not unprecedented for a Microsoft CE) — showed a willingness to talk to the street. Former CEO Steve Ballmer was not known for his warm-and-fuzzy relationship with analysts.
Second, they liked Nadella’s stated willingness to continually assess product plans. Microsoft, he said will exhibit “courage in the face of reality.” And Microsoft metrics seemed to show that the company’s cloud-first mobile-first focus is starting to pay off, at least on the cloud-first side.  (Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s mobile phone business closed on Friday.)
In its 10Q filing, Microsoft said cloud revenue:

“grew $367 million or 101%, due mainly to higher revenue from Commercial Office 365. Enterprise Services revenue grew $85 million or 8%, due mainly to growth in Premier Support Services and Microsoft Consulting Services.”

Don’t forget the Structure Show

This week, Mark Shuttleworth, the force behind Ubuntu Linux talked about why the cloud-era battle has shifted from operating systems to OpenStack; what was great and not-so-great about space travel; and which public clouds he’s betting on.
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