American Express\u2019s $4 billion deal with IBM Global Services in February 2002 was hailed by IBM as an example of utility computing coming of age. But the Amex deal and the other deals IBM has signed since announcing its on-demand strategy last fall are simply outsourcing deals with a slight twist: variable pricing for some of the computing and storage power. Much of Amex\u2019s variable pricing involves IBM simply bringing in extra boxes and hard drives without turning them on or charging Amex for them until the company needs the extra power.That\u2019s not the same thing as plugging into the wall and having computing as a utility flow down the wire, says David Tapper, senior analyst of networked infrastructure management services for IDC (a sister company to CIO\u2019s publisher). The computing power that IBM provides Amex doesn\u2019t come from an enormous pool shared by many customers\u2014as electricity would be\u2014and a utility wouldn\u2019t be assuming management over old computing systems and 2,000 of Amex\u2019s IT employees. Indeed, it\u2019s hard to imagine Amex or any of IBM\u2019s big, security-conscious outsourcing customers sharing a pool of computing resources for their hundreds or thousands of different apps anytime soon. "There\u2019s a huge amount of trust that needs to be built before this can happen," says Tapper. "It\u2019s like saying, You\u2019re going to feed and clothe me, right? You\u2019re always going to be there, right?"Today, utility computing is not a new technology. It\u2019s a pricing scheme, and not necessarily a bad one. Just call it what it is.