IBM Sees the Cloud's Silver Lining Expanding Big Blue Horizons

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I'm going down Memory Lane as I explain why the sky's the limit for International Business Machine's (IBM) future in the cloud, and why you should invest in this value stock that is still powered by the latest versions of cost-effective mainframe computing.

The first time I used an IBM product was in 1966 when I joined Grumman Aerospace right after graduating from Georgia Tech. The product was the IBM 360 the mainframe computer I used to maintain the "Tool Design Scheduling" program for the Manufacturing Division in Bethpage, N.Y.

At the same time I was a student earning my Master of Science degree at Brooklyn Poly in Farmingdale where I also had computer time on their IBM 360. Using these computers helped me learn to be a Fortran programmer, which I used to incorporate information for Grumman's successful bid for the F-14 Tom Cat fighter jet.

Fast forward to the "Crash of 1987" -- arguably IBM was the benchmark Dow component still the leader in main frame computing.

The company developed the ThinkPad in 1990, which became my PC platform of choice. In 2003 the ThinkPad was certified for use in space by the International Space Station. I was surprised that IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo in 2005. That was the first major sign that IBM was in transition from hardware to software.

What's interesting is that IBM is using mainframe computing as they shift from a commodity firm to becoming a high-end provider of cloud value-added services to key global growth markets. Initiatives include data centers in Hong Kong and Beijing, a social software deal in Kuwait, and helping India provide technology infrastructure to planned city called Palava.

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