IBM launched a new cloud computing service on Monday, aiming to take on companies such as Amazon.com Inc, Google Inc, Microsoft Corp and Salesforce.com Inc.
Cloud computing allows companies to run software and store information in remote, large-scale data centers that can be accessed over the Internet. That means users can cut back on hardware, as well as space and electricity.
International Business Machines Corp said it was launching a service called Smart Analytics Cloud, its biggest cloud computing service yet and that it would first be adopted internally.
IBM, the world's biggest technology services company, has lagged behind younger companies in rolling out cloud services. But it is still early days for the cloud industry, which Gartner Research estimates will ring up sales of about $3.4 billion this year.
Business interest in cloud computing has picked up since Amazon started offering storage and computing services over the Web about three years ago. Google and Salesforce are the other early leaders.
(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Jim Finkle; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)