IBM to announce $1 billion commitment to Facebook

Not sure when they’re going to announce this but apparently the O.B. (Original Borg) has decided that Second Life is over and now the new hot new thing is Facebook. They are going to assign fourteen thousand IBM programmers and a hundred thousand IBM business partners to the task of creating applications for Facebook, with a commitment to spend one billion dollars over the next two years on Facebook-related business ventures. First up: a version of Lotus Notes that runs on Facebook. Also, IBM Global Services has created a Facebook consulting practice to help big companies develop strategies for moving onto Facebook, teaching them how to use Facebook to gain competitive advantage over the other companies that IBM is also assisting with Facebook-related engagements. Ad copy says the practice will be “aimed at achieving synergies, unlocking value and leveraging assets across multiple brands and platforms with an emphasis on growth, cost containment and unleashing a plan of action that can identify and solve real business pain points.”

Internally, IBM is instructing all employees to create Facebook pages and to begin using Facebook as a tool for what it calls “collaborative innovation,” with a goal of becoming, by the end of this year, the largest corporate user of Facebook in the world. IBMers will begin inviting all business partners to join their Facebook friend networks. Palmisano already has a page and is friending like crazy from what we’re told. On the hardware front, IBM will announce a large donation of RISC-based Linux servers to power the Facebook data center, and at the same time introducing a new Facebook-branded RISC server (code name “Facebox”) specially designed to power the next generation of social networking, Web 2.0 Internet properties. Zuckerberg and Palmisano (photo) to appear together on stage to announce the deal. Quote from Palmisano in the press release which we’ve obtained: “Just as with On Demand, and Linux, and Second Life, this new Facebook venture is not just about chasing fads or jumping on the hype. This is about IBM being a thought leader, an innovator, a creative force in the industry, guiding our clients into the future. The future is tomorrow, but we are there today.” (Photo by Burt Hammer for the American Museum of Natural History.)