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IBM, Not Google, Scares Microsoft

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-01-05

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As the Consumer Electronic Show begins, Bill Gates disclosed Microsoft's real threat in the world of technology, and it isn't a bunch of Googlers dithering over the morning smoothie selections in Mountain View.

IBM, Not Google, Scares Microsoft
Does Microsoft Fear Big Blue?

Gates spent a little time on the eve of his CES keynote discoursing on his views of the tech world, the media, and the little search company that could. Reuters noted some of the more compelling bits from an interview with Microsoft's chief software architect.

He offered an assessment of what he sees as Microsoft's true competition in the technology space, as well as a very brief opinion of Google's place in that competitive world:

Asked if Google represents the most formidable threat of the company's 30-year history, Gates replied with a curt "No."

"The biggest company in the computer industry by far is IBM. They have four times the employees that I have, way more revenues than I have. IBM has always been our biggest competitor. The press just doesn't like to write about IBM," said Gates.

The press does like to write about certain companies. Gates listed Google as number one and Apple as number two for press adoration. "I'm never going to change the press' view about what the cool company to write about is," he said. "Too bad for Nokia, Sony and all those others."

Including IBM, which doesn't make cute little desktop applications or sleek media players like the iPod Nano. IBM does create lots of very good technology, like the world's fastest supercomputers. As far as search technology, IBM has resources focused on developing a better way to do it.

IBM has been working on its Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) as it pursues search based on concepts instead of context.

Marc Andrews, IBM's director for strategy & business development for content discovery, described UIMA as discovery and not just search. "It's information aware, whatever format information comes in, wherever it's stored across the enterprise, and it's really going beyond the traditional search."

Maybe Google should consider IBM a bigger threat, too.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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