Re: IBM will be fine
They reinvent themselves at need.
That's how HP would present their recent history and glorious future. But the reality is that corporations have a life cycle, and to be successful you do need to reinvent yourself, but you can't pick the winners. That means you need to try lots of things, be agile in spotting what's growing and what's not, know how to manage cash cow businesses whilst growing other smaller operations. GE have over the decades done this very well. Most IT companies haven't remaining one trick ponies, and either fail to come up with new ideas on a timely basis (eg Nokia), come up with great ideas decades before their time and then see others exploit them when they become feasible (Microsoft and tablets), try and pick winners that will quickly scale to the size of an existing dominant core business (IBM, HP, and a million other companies).
There's two related dimensions that appear to be common to these bumbling dinosaurs. The first is the sort of painfully centralised and restrictive decision making that squashes innovation and entrepreneurship. Motorola mobile, Nokia mobile, General Motors all failed mainly for this reason, that good ideas were either squashed, or happened far too slowly. Arguably this is what is killing Microsoft.
The second is where the business centralises its support processes like procurement, HR, finance, IT, etc into a cost-obsessed provider that the commercial units have to use, often mixing third party outsource into a devil's brew. This monopoly provider starts setting out policies that suit it, and ostensibly are about "efficiency". Funnily enough you never hear these internal providers talk about "agility", "flexibility", or "customers". And when you're dealing with a monolithic services provider, the business has to spend too much energy fighting internal battles, it can't recruit people fast enough, or at the right salary, it can't get quotes quickly enough to complete urgent tenders, it is obliged to use cheap suppliers who the operating managers know are not trustworthy, delivering anything through IT takes forever and costs a fortune, etc etc. And as this force-feeding of support services goes on, it sucks the life out of the business. The entrepreneurs move on to less bureaucratic companies, or fail because their energy is sapped in internal battles.
Bringing this back to IBM, I'll wager they (like my own employer) suffer from both of these problems. They aren't going to reinvent their culture (something far harder than it sounds). In the short term they'll do what every other US corp does - share buybacks to boost the price and bolster the executive options, they'll buy other companies and then watch as they squash the life out of it in a few scant years.
The promises of cloud and big data are very ephemeral, and over stated. Where's the value in all of this data other than advertising re-sellers? Take a look at mobile telcos. They have (supposedly) the ultimate goldmine - mobile browsing and content history, even potentially purchasing data, address, credit and payment data on their customers, the plans they signed up for, their loyalty, and their location on a near continuous and real time data. If that is all so valuable, why aren't mobile telcos THE data play? The answer is because not all data has value, and where it does have value that may be depressingly tiny. Cloud services are just a way of outsourcing a few web servers, and a way of warehousing all that low value data, but bit barns are a commodity business.
IBM might want to reinvent itself, but if it does it will truly be the exception rather than the rule.