IBM CEO Sam Palmisano had some questions of his own in response to a question by a Barron’s writer about Google in the enterprise.

The quote appears in a Barron’s story about IBM’s comeback. The actual story requires a subscription to view. Here is what Palmisano had to say:

“Is Google going to become the computing platform for the enterprise? Is a bank going to run itself on Google? Is an airline going to run itself on Google? Is IBM going to run its supply chain on Google? Is Bharti Wireless going to run themselves on Google? Is the banking system of China that we’ve built going to be on Google? Is the Russian Central Bank that we’re building going to be on Google? No.”

It’s often perceived that a threat really is a threat when a smaller competitor is acknowledged by a much bigger rival. Is that the case, here? Palmisano does appear to infer that Google is not up to the task of handling the work required of major operations. By making the comment, it opens up questions about how much of a threat IBM sees in Google.

There is no doubt that Google has made noteworthy strides in developing an enterprise suite of products. And why would a company like an airline not consider Google? Of course, Google does not offer the technology to perform core transactional task or much less in-flight software. But day-to-day office tasks can well be handled with Google applications.

Google does not pose any threat to IBM. Google dominance is not at hand. But Palmisano does appear to acknowledge that Google has a place at the table.