Big Blue Combined with Nanotech Reassures Newbies

There use to be an old business adage: â''No one ever got fired for hiring IBM.â'' I guess that phrase was popular about the time that IBM ruled the roost for electronic typewriters.

But ever since Microsoft did there little end around on IBM and got the whole OS and software business while IBM--with egg dripping down its faces--was left competing with the rest of the world on the production of metal and plastic boxes, itâ''s not so clear cut that IBM is still such a reliable business decision.

But nations new to nanotechnology and eager not to screw up are somehow assured by calling upon IBM to answer all their nanotechnology anxieties.

Case in point Saudi Arabia are calling upon IBM to help sort out how nanotechnology can be applied to improving water desalination, solar energy and petrochemical processes.

Oh yes, IBM has a storied history in nanotech, no doubt: Gerd Binning and Heinrich Rohrer and the creation of the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM), and then Don Eigler using an STM to spell out IBM with xenon atoms. Great stuff, ground breaking.

But nanotechnology for water, for solar power and the petrochemical business?

I am not sure I would be banging on IBMâ''s door for advice or solutions on nanotechnology for these areas, but I have to confess the incantation of the acronym â''IBMâ'' sounds a lot more impressive than the names of companies that are actually focused on these areas.

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