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Why IBM Is as Cheap as Chips

If you really want to know who the cloud leader is, in fact, it's not Red Hat (RHT) or Rackspace (RAX) or even Google. It's IBM.

No company has built as many cloud systems, no company brings in more revenue from cloud, and no company is as focused on enterprise cloud computing as IBM. Just as IBM spent the 1990s and 2000s quietly unifying its operating system strategy under Linux, it has spent most of this decade building a complete cloud stack -- infrastructure, platforms, software applications and services that, for most big enterprises, make it the only choice in the field.

The last is key. At the end of the day, what companies want from cloud isn't the infrastructure or the "big data," but applications and solutions to their most intractable problems. That's what IBM's software acquisition strategy is about, having those solutions ready before big customers even ask for them.

Silicon Valley is a loud and raucous place, it's capitalism that is red in tooth and claw, and so we assume that is what technology is supposed to be about. But it doesn't have to be that way.

IBM is quietly selling at a market-average 14 times earnings, with steadily rising dividends, rising profits and operating margins, plus a clear idea of how it will get to the cloud market before anyone else.

It really is as cheap as chips.

At the time of publication the author had positions in IBM, MSFT, GOOG, INTC, RHT, and AAPL.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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