I was at IBM’s z13 mainframe launch last week, and it brought back a lot of memories, as I was at IBM when the era of mainframes collapsed. When the Mac era dropped after the launch of Windows 95, I covered Apple.
Strange, even though these firms focus on very different customer bases, their core differentiated core elements of product control and customer experience are very similar and well differentiated from their competitors.
Ginni Rometty and Tim Cook are both under the cloud as well as Ginny – because they are often placed in the pool of CEOs of women who were selected for something other than skill, and Cook because she is constantly on the job of Steve Jobs Are in the shade.
What if both CEOs know that their salvation lies in each other and was there really anything spectacular? I’ll search and close that week with my product: Lenovo Yoga Pro.
Cook and Rometty’s Problem
Cook has a big problem, and I do not envy anyone who takes over the founder of a beloved reputable company. People remember him almost like God, ignore their faults, and set a bar that is usually not humanly possible to achieve.
It didn’t help that it was clear that Cook was the best of the things Jobs had sucked, and he was largely chosen because Jobs thought he could take the job back from him when he recovered. .
Cook demonstrated that he is both a very good manager and he is no Steve Jobs – they are very different people. By the time Cook can get out of the shadow of Jobs, however, he will likely be largely unarmed in history – or worse, remembered for mistakes such as un-jobs.
Most female CEOs look to get their jobs either because their companies are in the eyes of their male counterparts – unattainable, or for reasons other than their skills and ability. I could argue that there is a significant number of male CEOs about whom we can say the same thing, but I will save it for another time.
In that world, Riometti is very different, because IBM actually prepares and trains its CEO candidates, meaning that regardless of your perception of women CEOs, regardless of sex, most CEOs compare Romiti is better trained and qualified. (By the way, the woman who really needs to be angry about this is Mary Bara on GM, who was given an impossible task and is really surprising everyone by doing the impossible damn well).
Both Rometty and Cook are better – but unless they do something spectacular, they won’t get out of their respective clouds.
Importance of partnership
Now, most partnerships between companies like IBM and Apple are mostly about announcements – in fact, the biggest deal is often the photo op. One of the most memorable was between Microsoft and Sun. I can remember the incident as if it were yesterday.
I ran into both Scott McNeely and Steve Ballmer, and while both men certainly knew and greeted me, it was clear that there was a lot of unusual tension.
I focused on the men during the event: McNealy, who got a really big check from Steve, was talking to Steve; Steve had a look on his face as to what I would have done if I had really sat near a pile of dung.
He clearly wanted to be somewhere, but next to Scott – and until the Sun failed, there was a possibility of that press event that the two companies did together.
Although rarely bad, these things generally do not amount to footnotes even in technology history. Although it is not that way. Recall that the IBM-Microsoft alliance changed the industry; Intel and Microsoft took the curse around the world; And Cisco and EMC, along with VCE, redefined it.
The fact that I can’t think of any more notable successes is how rare they are – but when they work, thanks to the combined resources of firms, the result can be world-changing.
IBM and Apple
IBM just released the z13, a very specific high-performance server specifically targeting mobile loads. Apple is the major (it’s still, sorry Samsung) provider of mobile products.
Customers lead to both focus and satisfaction, and both go to great lengths to control the customer experience. Apple sucks on cloud apps and cannot venture historically, and IBM fleshed out the private technology business as a failure – but both firms are leaders who belittle the other.
Add to this IBM’s Watson capability, coupled with Apple’s marketing and design excellence, can make Siri really smart, and you can have an end-to-end mobile solution that will be unbeatable in the market – and, Were they to get creative, change it as well.