IBM to put Watson Workspace out to pasture over lack of adoption

AI-powered coms app "hasn't resonated with clients" says Big Blue

IBM Watson Workspace app on mobile phone

IBM is killing off its AI-powered collaboration tool Watson Workspace after it failed to "resonate" with clients, according to a leaked memo.

Watson Workspace is IBM's answer to Slack or Microsoft Teams, but with AI capabilities. It provided a platform for shared workspaces, collaborations and even hosted third-party apps. But, despite having only been released in 2016 in beta, the app is being shut down by the 28 February, according to a memo seen by The Register.

"While there is no question that Watson Workspace is innovative and agile, it hasn't resonated with clients or obtained traction in the marketplace necessary for IBM to continue forward with the service," the memo states.

"Despite our best efforts and enthusiasm for these offerings, our decision to withdraw them aligns to IBM's investment strategy, focused on delivering solutions that deliver measurable value to our customers and business partners."

According to the document, IBM has already stopped taking new orders for Watson Workspace and will not be adding any new features to it. It's reportedly working with business partners to create options for handling subscriptions and contracts once the end of service is officially announced. Business clients that have already brought into Watson Workspace will, from today, see a banner in the user interface of the service that will provide a timeline for moving off the service.

"We will also provide access to a tool that will allow you to download and save your conversations and content from Watson Workspace. Please plan accordingly to capture any content you'd like to retain as we work to sunset the service. This option will only be available for a limited time," IBM added in the memo.

The Watson, or the artificial intelligence factor, on Workspace was called 'moments' and was used mainly to search conversation history or catch up on work chat after a break. Arguably, this was perhaps a poor use of Watson AI given its capabilities - it famously beat two contestants on the game show Jeopardy - and also nothing different from popular apps like Slack, which also has AI functions for the same things.

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