Can IBM take on Amazon in the cloud with its new Red Hat acquisition? A look at the data.
On October 29, IBM ($NYSE:IBM) acquired open-source software company Red Hat ($NYSE:RHT) for $33 billion. While Red Hat will remain independent and open source, it will be put under IBM's Hybrid Cloud Team and help the company expand its technology portfolio.
With a strong presence in both collaborative open source communities and corporate technology, Red Hat offers IBM a larger community stake in the growing hybrid cloud market. Currently, public developer interest in IBM Cloud has tapered off over time, as its public Slack group has averaged only 1-3 new users a day over the week.
However, developers working with the software, both when it was called IBM BlueMix and its current name, are showing an uptick in interest over time. Specifically, developer interest on Stack Exchange — or the amount of questions posted on the site by interested developers — shows IBM Cloud overtook the amount of questions that Red Hat had on February 11, 2016. It has not looked back since that date, with 5,265 questions up compared to Red Hat's 2,746 as of today.
Although interest in both software companies is growing over time, it pales in comparison to the largest hybrid cloud provider in the world: Amazon Web Services ($NASDAQ:AMZN). On Stack Exchange, there are eight times more Stack Exchange questions about Amazon Web Services than about Red Hat and IBM Cloud combined, which reflects AWS' massive stake in the hybrid cloud market.
This major acquisition was two decades in the making, as IBM was an early supporter of Linux and enterprised Red Hat's distribution of the operating system. Now that IBM is paying premium to acquire a long-time partner outright, it is essentially sending a message that it wants to up its share in the hybrid cloud market that's dominated by the Amazon giant.