Anticipating IBM’s coming virtual desktop pivot

(Disclosure:  Most of the vendors listed are clients of the author.)

One of the biggest mistakes IBM ever made was abandoning the desktop market, a decision it partially reversed when it partnered with Apple a few years back.  But with the realization that IBM, and not Google, is the number three Cloud provider in the US – and that Microsoft is soon going to be driving its Azure Virtual Desktop to market – it seems likely that IBM may bring forth its own offering. 

Now that IBM is being led by Arvind Krishner (its version of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who is clearly behind Microsoft’s desktop cloud pivot), it is likely IBM will come to a similar conclusion. And IBM has some interesting advantages, not the least of which is that the company’s mainframe platform and partnership with NVIDIA could make it very competitive. 

Let’s explore IBM’s potential return to the desktop. 

What IBM lost

When IBM stepped back from the PC market, the reasoning was sound financially but flawed from an image perspective.  Before that, enterprise accounts were often saturated by IBM desktop products; you’d see their brand on monitors and PCs in most major companies. Once IBM left, Lenovo generally stepped into the void, turning that company from being  nearly unknown in the US to becoming a true IT powerhouse. 

Yes, IBM got rid of a troubled business (at the time), but the collateral damage to the corporate brand was near catastrophic.  

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.


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