In drought-stricken San Francisco, when the forecast calls for rain, it is a reason for celebration. And when that forecast doesnât pan it out, as happened on Wednesday, it is a reason to deride whoever made that forecast.
Can IBM do better? In a move that was not terribly intuitive, Big Blue announced on Wednesday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire most of the assets of the Weather Company, including the Weather.com website, a large number of weather data collection points, software and a staff of about 900 people. The deal does not include the Weather Channel, so the famed meteorologist Jim Cantore need not worry about putting an IBM logo on his storm gear.
IBM plans to link all that weather data with its Watson service. Watson, as you may remember, was the computer system that beat human champions on the television game show “Jeopardy!”
Watson won the game, but turning that âcognitiveâ technology into a business has proved a challenge for IBM, which is searching for new ways to make money as it faces a long, slow revenue slide.
Itâs unclear how Watsonâs weather forecast will be delivered. But it had better include rain.