By Rob Enderle | February 16th, 2023
Power was once a peer to X86 technology along with a number of now obsolete processor platforms, but as those others dropped off and X86 became dominant, Power continued. Yes, it had to hit above its weight class in order to compete and remain relevant, but it did, and it continues to have some of the most loyal and outspoken customers today who appreciate what Power uniquely brings to the table.
The reason it has sustained speaks to both a weakness in X86 execution which allows for competing technologies to exist and a level of continued focus and execution by IBM that has enabled the technology to continue long after many thought it would be obsolete.
Let’s look at the surprising success of IBM Power this week on top of IBM's latest announcements surrounding the platform.
Heretics have opinions that are at odds with what is generally accepted, whereas most humans prefer compliance. But heretics often make the greatest advances by moving faster than the speed of sound, circumnavigating the globe (and actually arguing there was a globe), and coming up with electric cars in an internal combustion world. Even advancing alternative forms of energy generation generally has come from heretics.
IBM has historically been a heretic. It advanced computing when most of its peers argued in the 1940s and 50s that the computer market was tiny. It dived into personal computers using a partnering model instead of vertical integration. It both drove lock-in as a model, then was one of the first companies to throw that model out. And finally, after defining itself as one of the most proprietary vendors in the technology market, IBM flipped completely to become one of the strongest supporters of Linux and open-source technology. IBM is unique in that it has not only played the heretic, it has done so against constructs that IBM itself created.
Rob Enderle, The Enderle Group
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