IBM Impact 2014 featured its PaaS (based on Cloud Foundry), BlueMix and announced the IBM Cloud marketplace. So, what makes this all different from the competition? Well unlike some of the competition (but only some of it), BlueMix is firmly based on non-proprietary open standards such as OpenStack. I believe that IBM really is committed to open standards and community support. The other thing that may make it different is the quality of associated services available.
The IBM Cloud marketplace is more about selling services than little apps—including such things as a DevOps service for BlueMix. This is really all about a new style of development 'composability'—one puts together services to deliver business outcomes (and BlueMix supports hyprid cloud—there is usually a choice of an on-premise or a cloud solution). It offers a good 'shopping experience'—you can filter solutions by user role and so on.
This isn't the first marketplace but it is a bit different to AppStore etc. BlueMix isn't even IBM's first cloud offering—but it gives the impression of being very carefully thought through and the services are curated by IBM's experts. Initial offerings announced at Impact 2014 include a high performance gaming infrastructure; a scalable infrastructure for startups; DevOps for BlueMix, including 3rd-party services; Analytics, including Big Data as a Service and BigInsights; Mobilke for the BlueMix platform with Softlayer IaaS; and managed cloud, with self-service bare metal.
BlueMix may even address the issue I thought I saw here, that IBM is seen as only for the big guys and that the people buying the technology for the next generation of big companies, IBM's natural customers, might have to be weaned away from other technologies, adopted when they were just small startups. BlueMix provides the open environment and low cost of entry that may appeal to the innovators in system development, in their tiny startups, who, I hope, will be now composing automated business systems from services.