IBM's Pop Gun Beats HP's Bombshell

Everyone is blogging endlessly about HP-EDS (okay, I'm guilty of it too). Valued at nearly $14 billion, HP's buyout of EDS is big news. But IBM, ironically, may be making wiser moves with smaller, more targeted relationships in the managed services and software as a service (SaaS) markets.

Here's one prime example of what I mean:

IBM has announced that it is now the "official hosting provider" of Lawson Software's on-demand and hosted applications in Europe, the Middle East and Asia (EMEA).

Smart move. Lawson is one of those quiet and often successful software players in the mid-market. The company specializes in enterprise resource planning (ERP), and increasingly offers its applications via managed hosting.

That's where IBM enters the picture. Although Big Blue acquired Cognos, a business intelligence specialist, a few months ago, IBM has largely steered clear of the applications market. This means IBM can  move aggressively to sign hosting and MSP relationships with leading software companies.

I don't necessarily think the HP-EDS combo is a bad move. In fact, I suspect the deal will work out quite nicely for HP over the long haul. But the EDS deal won't do much -- if anything -- for HP's managed services and SaaS strategies.

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