By Patricia Resende / Top Tech News. Updated March 30, 2009.
Big Blue has lost some friends in the clouds. This weekend, IBM was in the eye of a storm dealing with companies such as Google, Amazon.com, and Microsoft. The Internet search giant, the online retailer and the software behemoth all withdrew support for IBM's effort to launch a cloud-computing initiative.
Members of the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum (CCIF) also pulled their support.
The core issue behind the loss of support was IBM's manifesto. Some companies weren't happy about being invited late in the process, while others believe there are some political efforts under way.
Not an Open Process
The CCIF's organizer, Reuven Cohen, said because the group represents members from various industries, it could not endorse just one document.
"I don't think anyone had any issues with the document, that was hard to argue with and I'm an advocate for an open ecosystem for cloud computing," Cohen said. "The issue is a lot of people in the community -- small and big companies and individuals -- believe cloud is an approachable technology."
The CCIF could not endorse the manifesto because some of its members didn't agree that it was an open and fair process. "They feared that it was overly political and may have agendas," Cohen said.
"While Google isn't party to the manifesto, we are a strong advocate of cloud computing, given the substantial benefits for consumers and businesses," said Google's Jon Murchinson. "We value industry dialog that results in more and better delivery of software and services via the Internet, and appreciate IBM's leadership and commitment in this area. We continue to be open to interoperability with all vendors and any data."
Poking Holes in IBM
"Microsoft is behaving the way it behaves and IBM is behaving the way it always behaves," said Kelly Sims, a spokesperson for IBM. "It is not surprising that folks are looking for ways to poke holes in what IBM is doing."
Sims said everyone was approached relatively at the same time and that the effort came together in just weeks.
Thirty-five companies and organizations have signed on to the manifesto, which went live Monday morning. Companies including EMC, Sun Microsystems, and AT&T are on board, as are the Open Cloud Consortium and The Open Group.
"Seventeen new ones have contacted us this morning and clearly they are not scaring off everyone," Sims said of Microsoft, Amazon and Google. "It is pretty impressive when you take away the Microsoft versus the world battle."
Next to Come
IBM said the manifesto was drafted and went live in order to get a conversation started, but the most important steps will come in the next few months.
"It is important to embrace this for what it is, and that is an early step (in the process)," Sims said. "This is going to be a significant effort."