August 06, 2005

IBM in the fray - Podcasting Whitepapers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - IBM is the latest major company to embrace podcasting, the digital audio craze that allows consumers to take audio programming off the Web and listen to it on portable music players.

The world's largest computer company said on Friday it plans to introduce a series of occasional podcasts on its investor relations site as part of a broader effort to communicate directly to its investors and the wider public about hot topics.

"These are insights that our consultants get from conversations with customers into emerging issues," spokesman John Bukovinsky said of the conversations IBM plans to feature in coming months. "They are not IBM commercials."

Referring to the traditional "white paper" technical think pieces that companies like IBM often have offered as publications or on their Web sites, Bukovinsky said, "We've killed our fair share of trees and people with white papers."

Podcasting has caught fire as a way for news and radio broadcasters to deliver recorded programming for listeners to play on their music players -- allowing for a kind of radio programming on the go, but without the radio.

The technology is not for everybody, however. Consumers need a digital music player, a broadband Internet connection and some technical proficiency to manage the quirks of moving large chunks of audio data between a PC and a portable music player.

Now major companies are joining the trend. In a recent report, technology market research firm Gartner Inc. cited automaker General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM - news) and soft drink maker PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE:PEP - news) as among corporate podcasters.

On a GM-sponsored site, listeners can hear Bob Lutz, its chief car designer, discuss new auto designs. PepsiCo uses podcasting in a marketing campaign.

Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL - news) is offering a wide selection of podcasts to consumers via its iTunes online music site. Listeners can tune in and subscribe to audio updates of news, travelogues and other radio-like programming.

This week, Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) introduced a site that helps listeners locate and download podcast material.

Sites such as allow investors to download and listen to quarterly financial conference calls held by publicly traded companies.

Armonk, New York-based IBM plans a series of commentaries entitled "IBM and the Future Of..." that sums up the latest thinking from IBM consultants on trends from shopping to innovation, banking, economics, and the home.

The first in the series is entitled "IBM and The Future of Driving." It explores how technology is changing the way cars are built, driven, maintained and insured. The podcasts are on IBM's investor relations site at

IBM podcasts come in the common MP3 audio format.

Source: Yahoo

Posted by keefner at August 6, 2005 06:34 PM