'IBM is building two things here. One is a near-term strategy that can be thought of as next-generation middleware that will tie mobile applications, the underlying mobile (and wireline) networks and the cloud together in ways that will give enterprise customers the sense of accountability they need. Things like ensuring that APIs are dependable enough to build service level agreements around and secured if needed isn’t sexy, but IBM is taking it on.
Over the longer term, the company is pursing efforts like IBM’s new memory chip research and new processors that work more like the human brain. Watson, which will be delivered eventually as a cloud-based mobile app and likely rely on some of the middleware related knowledge, is the first of IBM’s longer-term plans. Manoj Saxena, the head of IBM’s Watson division, calls this the fourth wave of computing.
And while there will be servers aplenty in that vision, they won’t look like the boxes of today, and they certainly won’t be the profit-centers. The value will be in the services themselves, the hard work of integration and perhaps the new silicon (or graphene or DNA-based) platform on which these things all rest. Today it’s middleware and tomorrow it will be a revamp of the machine.'