In the latest quarter, revenue fell 6.5% to $20.37 billion, missing analysts' projections, according to FactSet. Shares fell 6.8% in after-hours trading. IBM's stock closed at $131.65 on Thursday, down 5.4% over the past year. IBM, which had suspended financial projections last year over uncertainty about the pandemic's business impact, said Thursday that it expects revenue to grow this year and anticipates $11 billion to $12 billion in adjusted free cash flow for the year and $12 billion to $13 billion in 2022. "The actions we are taking to focus on hybrid cloud and [artificial intelligence] will take hold, giving us confidence we can achieve revenue growth in 2021," Mr. Krishna.
Here's a look at how the cloud leaders stack up, the hybrid market, and the SaaS players that run your company as well as their latest strategic moves. IBM's fourth quarter revenue fell 6% from a year ago, but the company said it expects to return to growth in 2021. The company's earnings report was a mixed bag. IBM reported non-GAAP earnings of $2.07 a share and $1.41 a share under generally accepted accounting practices. However, IBM's fourth quarter revenue was down 6% to $20.4 billion.
Google's Google Cloud division today announced it has made generally available two search functions that rely on machine learning techniques to help retailers who use its cloud service. Called Vision API product search and Recommendations AI, the two services are part of what Google has unveiled as a suit of functions called Product Discovery Solutions for Retail. The vision search function will let a retailer's customers submit a picture and received ranked results of products that match the picture in either appearance or semantic similarity to the object. Recommendations, said Google, is "able to piece together the history of a customer's shopping journey and serve them with customized product recommendations." Both are generally available now to retailers.
The edge of a network, as you may know, is the furthest extent of its reach. A cloud platform is a kind of network overlay that makes multiple network locations part of a single network domain. It should therefore stand to reason that an edge cloud is a single addressable, logical network at the furthest extent of a physical network. And an edge cloud on a global scale should be a way to make multiple, remote data centers accessible as a single pool of resources -- of processors, storage, and bandwidth. The combination of 5G and edge computing will unleash new capabilities from real-time analytics to automation to self-driving cars and trucks.
Google is offering a free course for people who are on the hunt for skills to use containers, big data and machine-learning models in Google Cloud. The initial batch of courses consists of four tracks aimed at data analysts, cloud architects, data scientists and machine-learning engineers. The January 2021 course offers a fast track to understand key tools for engineers and architects to use in Google Cloud. It includes a series on getting started in Google Cloud, another focussing on its BigQuery data warehouse, one that delves into the Kubernetes engine for managing containers, another for the Anthos application management platform, and a final chapter on Google's standard interfaces for natural language processing and computer vision AI. Participants need to sign up to Google's "skills challenge" and will be given 30 days' free access to Google Cloud labs.
Among the messages that Oracle is putting out for its flagship database, adding new access paths for developers has become just as important as adding new data types. This month, Oracle is launching the next version of Oracle Database, version 21c. In a session hosted by Andrew Mendelsohn, executive vice president of database server technologies, the company is also announcing a new cloud-based APEX Service designed to carve a new access path for low-code developers who traditionally thought that writing apps for Oracle was complex and expensive. To induce new developers, Oracle is throwing in a free tier to this new cloud service. As Oracle now numbers its releases according to calendar year, 21c is the next release, which was announced as generally available last month.
If there's one obvious prediction that bore out over the course of what was otherwise a very unpredictable year, it was the acceleration in adoption of cloud computing. Just look at the continued very healthy double digit growth rates of each of the major clouds. For enterprises, it was about adapting to the virtual environment and constrained supply chains of a suddenly locked-down world. A year ago, (pre-COVID), we viewed cloud adoption as a series of logical stages, evolving from DevTest to development of new born-in-the-cloud apps, opportunistic adoption of new SaaS services, with the homestretch now coming into view with replatforming and/or transformation of core enterprise back end applications. But with hindsight, nor surprisingly, the headline for cloud adoption over the past year was for use cases enabling businesses to pivot into what became the new normal – the need to change or develop new services in a landscape where work and consumption was increasingly virtual, and where conventional supply chains came under stress.
SK Telecom said on Thursday it has launched its 5G edge cloud service, called SKT 5GX Edge, embedded with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Wavelength in South Korea. The launch of the service will allow customers to build ultra-low latency mobile apps, the telco said, in areas such as machine learning, Internet of Things, gaming, and streaming. Use of the service will allow apps that are accessing the cloud to bypass the internet and regional websites, and quickly reach SK Telecom's data centre. The reduced step will allow customers to enjoy the full benefits offered by 5G network's low latency and bandwidth, the telco said. The first AWS Wavelength Zone has been launched in the city of Daejeon. It will expand to Seoul and other regions next year.
From a tech industry perspective, one of the most common things you hear about the pandemic is that it has dramatically sped up the rate at which many companies have adopted new technologies, including cloud computing. However, at a deeper level, I would argue that the pandemic has significantly increased the pace at which many larger trends have impacted society, and employment overall, with technology, once again, playing a critical role. It's hard to ignore the fact that some industries – and the jobs related to them – which had been expected to only modestly decline have instead seen some dramatic drop-offs. From increased use of robotic automation to the online shift of stores, there are many examples of companies – and even entire industries – that have accelerated technology adoption during the pandemic. An unfortunate consequence is the number of people losing their jobs sooner than expected.
The last few years have seen the tech industry take increasing measures toward reducing and improving its environmental impact in ways big and small. HP has used reclaimed ocean plastics in its ink cartridges, laptop cases, and Dragonfly laptop. Apple, once a target of Greenpeace ire, now unfailingly touts the superior recyclability of its products and has vowed to make its products completely from recyclable materials by 2030. And Tesla, of course, brought the dream of the electric car back from the dead and has inspired a wave of electric vehicles from brands old and new. The cloud computing race in 2020 will have a definite multi-cloud spin.