Can IBM take over Amazon, Microsoft & Google in cloud computing?

When it comes to cloud computing, IBM claims to have a leg up on the competition with one key tool: IBM Watson.

According to a Business Insider report, IBM Corporate Vice President of Cloud Robert LeBlanc says IBM's artificial intelligence supercomputer Watson is the company's secret weapon in the cloud marketplace.

Mr. LeBlanc told Business Insider that the cloud has progressed past just providing the IT infrastructure. All major cloud providers offer this, including Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

The hybrid cloud, too, is becoming a mainstay, where customers use both their own data center infrastructures with cloud services. In addition to IBM, Microsoft is heavily involved in this market, according to the report.

What separates IBM, according to Mr. LeBlanc, is Watson's ability to bring "cognitive computing" to the cloud. For example, developers can build apps using Watson's cognitive capabilities, including understanding and processing natural human speech and then providing customers with an answer, according to the report.

Microsoft's Cortana Analytics Suite is entering this market, allowing customers to sort through data. However, developers are unable to work with Cortana in the same way they can with Watson, according to the report.

IBM believes natural language processing is the next step for cloud computing. "We really believe it's the next generation," Mr. LeBlanc told Business Insider.

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