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Its all about the Apps – Not the Cloud

August 31, 2010

Today, more than ever, an IT Solutions Provider needs to have a Value Proposition that differentiates from the competition. The real value of any solution for a business’ challenges and opportunities centers around applications – not necessarily where the application is physically located. This piece by Lawrence Walsh is an interesting look at mobility – where applications will be accessed.

Intel Reveals the Cloud is Dead

Let me be the first to say this: “The cloud is dead!”

In fact, I’m not sure if cloud computing was ever a real trend.

The real disruption to the IT paradigm is mobility, which is part of the promise of cloud computing – access to data from any place, at anytime from anywhere. In that sense, the cloud is just a delivery mechanism to whatever endpoint is requesting applications and data, and a growing number of those endpoints are smartphones, netbooks, tablets and mobile computing devices.

Analyst firm Gartner says smartphones will be the primary Internet access point by 2015. Perhaps, but we may not have to wait that long, and by the time we get to 2015, the actual device may change. Chipmaker Intel has returned to its role as barometer of the industry; its latest acquisitions are showing its bets are placed on mobility.

Two weeks ago, Intel shocked the IT world by buying McAfee for the premium price of $8 billion. Intel made its reasoning very clear: It had no intentions of trying to become a competitive security vendor (although McAfee will operate as an autonomous business unit). Its true intention is to embed greater security capabilities between the operating system and the silicon to enable more efficient mobile devices and platforms.

Today, Intel announced its $1.4 billion all-cash acquisition of the wireless division of German chipmaker Infineon. The deal will improve and expand Intel’s portfolio of processors and memory chips for laptops, netbooks and smartphones. Basically, Intel is looking to get closer to anything that has 3G, 4G, Wimax and Wi-Fi access.

These two mega acquisitions come about a year after Intel paid nearly $900 million for WindRiver, a software company that specializes in applications for non-PC machines. The software WindRiver produces is for machines ranging from smartphones to cars, ATMs to industrial robots. Essentially, WindRiver got Intel closer to the embedded systems that are quickly attaching themselves to the Internet.

If Intel has spent $10 billion in acquiring assets that will break it free of conventional personal computers and servers, I think we should all take notice. But it’s not just Intel making these moves. In 2008, Apple bought chipmaker PA Semi to bolster its capabilities for building mobile devices. And Symantec has invested heavily in Mocana, a specialist in securing mobile devices independent of the operating system. These are all pretty good indicators the mobile endpoint is where the IT game is going.

The cloud, you ask?  Well, that will become the virtual CAT-5 of the next generation of computing. In other words, the cloud is dead. Long live the “cloud-connected” device.

Smart solution providers would start thinking about how mobility is going to change their business models and identify the changes they’ll need to make to support future customer mobile computing needs. Already, many solution providers are finding tremendous services opportunities in deploying and managing email services for mobile phones such as the Blackberry and iPhone. The coming era of mobility will go far beyond email integration and maintenance. The time to prepare is now.

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Lawrence M. Walsh is CEO and president of The 2112 Group, a technology business advisory service that specializes in optimizing indirect channels and partner relationships. He’s also the executive director of the Channel Vanguard Council, a thought leadership group and advisory committee to CompTIA on channel issues. He is the former publisher of Channel Insider and editor of VARBusiness Magazine. You can reach him at lmwalsh@the2112group.com.

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