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IBM Rolls Out Power7 As Rivals Converge

Big Blue's introduction of new enterprise servers shows it still wants to be king of the integrated systems game.
In a sign that so-called "coopetition" in the tech industry is breaking down amid vendor consolidation and a tough economy, Mauri took shots at Dell's and Microsoft's ability to run IBM's business stack on their own platforms.

He also claimed Sun hardware under Oracle would be no more competitive than Sun on its own and no match for Power7 when it comes to running ERP systems and other business software.

IBM's renewed emphasis on its ability to offer bundled systems isn't surprising, given its rivals have turned to the same playbook.

Hewlett-Packard last month revealed an alliance with Microsoft under which the companies pledged to spend $250 million over the next three years to trick out HP ProLiant servers and other hardware for maximum performance with SQL Server, Hyper-V virtualization and other products from Redmond.

"It's about optimizing machine capability with software capability," HP CEO Mark Hurd said at the time of the announcement.

Oracle, meanwhile, promises to deliver an "end-to-end" stack of tightly connected hardware, databases, and applications now that its $7.4 billion buyout of Sun is in the books.

In a further sign of its one-stop IT shop ambitions, Larry Ellison's outfit on Monday disclosed the acquisition of AmberPoint, which develops management software for service-oriented architectures (SOA) for cloud and other advanced environments. Terms weren't disclosed.

For tech industry veterans who've seen the rise and fall of vertically integrated vendors like DEC and Sperry, it's all enough to conjure feelings of deja vu.

But relative newcomers are surely left wondering what's become of the "best of breed" concept touted in recent years as an alternative to the IBM playbook by the very vendors who now appear bent on recreating themselves in Big Blue's image.

Expect a pitched battle. IBM's Power7 roadmap shows Armonk won't easily yield ground to HewlettSoft or Sunacle.

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