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Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform receive most of the attention in the cloud market currently. And Robert LeBlanc, the newly appointed head of cloud at IBM, doesn’t take offense to that.

See, LeBlanc, who is officially designated as the senior vice president of cloud at IBM, believes deeply in IBM. He’s worked there for 33 years.

“Unbelievable,” he said in an interview with VentureBeat on Wednesday.

He’s worked in several parts of the company, including its WebSphere middleware, its Tivoli software, and its formidable Global Consulting Services business unit. He’s seen the company squeeze into respectable market positions again and again. And if things go right, that will be the case for cloud, too.


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“We’re in a marathon,” LeBlanc said.

So what if Amazon has sold access to cloud infrastructure since 2006? Big companies are just now starting to carry out what LeBlanc called “business transformation.” And IBM can help there, with consulting, as well as public cloud infrastructure — partly thanks to its 2013 SoftLayer acquisition — that can be part of hybrid cloud architectures.

“We see hybrid cloud as really being the next kind of wave,” said LeBlanc.

Other companies do, too, of course — Microsoft and VMware come to mind.

But LeBlanc believes he’s got a good story to tell. IBM has set up “40 different data centers in 15 different countries,” he said, with an eye toward being in the right place in accord with customers’ needs.

That goes back to the commitment IBM made last year to spend $1.2 billion on opening 15 new data centers.

Sure, you could say that’s not very impressive when you look at, say, Google, which spent more than $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter of last year alone on data center construction, real estate, and equipment, as Gigaom reported.

But Google, at least for the moment, doesn’t focus too much on hybrid cloud.

And hey, IBM’s cloud business — which encompasses cloud infrastructure, platforms, software, and consulting — is on the rise, with $7 billion in revenue in 2014, up more than 60 percent year over year.

And LeBlanc thinks the IBM cloud will keep right on growing.

“We’ve got an opportunity in front of us that is pretty tremendous,” he said.

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