The Growing Rivalry Between Google and IBM

Greg Satell | Forbes | September 11, 2016

On February 10th, 1996, IBM’s supercomputer, Deep Blue first beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a head-to-head match, something many thought a computer would never do. Fifteen years later, in 2011, IBM’s Watson beat human champions on the game show Jeopardy!, which ushered in the new era of cognitive computing. More recently, Google has made headlines of its own. In March of this year, the company’s Alpha Go system bested world champion Lee Sedol in the massively complex game of Go, a feat eerily similar, although far more impressive, to Deep Blue’s win 20 years earlier.

Greg SatellSo far, the two companies have taken far different approaches to deploying the technology. IBM has targeted specific verticals, such as health care and has made the technology available for developers to use as an engine to power their own applications. Google, for its part, has open sourced its technology, but mainly used it to improve its own products.

Still the growing rivalry is unmistakeable. Very few companies are capable of developing this type of deep learning technology and clearly, both IBM and Google are leading the pack. To be sure, other companies such as Facebook and Microsoft are also developing capabilities in this area, but up to this point at least, they don’t seem to have made quite as much progress.