IBM CEO Uncertain About Charging for AI Models

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna isn't entirely sure how his company will monetize AI models but said it intends to see how customers prefer to buy them.

Christopher Hutton, Technology Reporter

May 21, 2024

1 Min Read
IBM's Arvind Krishna at an analyst event at IBM Think.
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna speaking to media and analysts at IBM Think 2024 in Boston, May 21.

IBM THINK — During an appearance before media and analysts at IBM Think in Boston on Tuesday, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna appeared uncertain about whether his company would charge for access to AI models.

Krishna was asked about his plans for monetizing OpenAI models. The IBM CEO compared the question to selling the various components of a device.

"Do [customers] pay for an operating system? Do they pay for the hardware? Or do they pay for the management around it? As a tech vendor, I don't really care," said Krishna.

Krishna said that he would adapt IBM's strategy in accordance with market demand.

"You tell me this is the thing I want to pay for, we'll wrap it all the rest up and give it to them," the CEO said.

In the case of AI models, this could include enterprise options as well as the guardrails and supplemental tools that might help keep AI operations safe and useful. It could also be a direct sale to market. Krishna appeared to be observing the marketplace's response before providing a more detailed plan.

IBM Think Fixated on Watsonx, AI

IBM has unveiled a number of updates to company products in the last day or so at IBM Think. These include an open-source version of IBM's Granite models and several new versions of the vendor's watsonx assistant. IBM also revealed its plans to launch a program for MSPs in the upcoming third quarter.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Hutton

Technology Reporter, Channel Futures

Christopher Hutton is a technology reporter at Channel Futures. He previously worked at the Washington Examiner, where he covered tech policy on the Hill. He currently covers MSPs and developing technologies. He has a Master's degree in sociology from Ball State University.

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