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EMC outlook unchanged

Executive Chairman Mike Ruettgers tells investors the data storage leader's business is roughly on track with its outlook given in April.

NEW YORK--It wasn't what EMC said Wednesday, but what it didn't say that left investors optimistic.

Speaking at the Bear Stearns Technology conference here, Executive Chairman Mike Ruettgers said the data storage leader has managed through previous market turmoil and business is roughly on track with its outlook given in April.

"We're sorry to disappoint, but there is no preannouncement today," joked an EMC spokeswoman at a question-and-answer session.

Morgan Stanley analyst Gillian Munson lowered estimates for the company Tuesday, citing a sluggish PC market. And Goldman Sachs analyst Laura Conigliaro cut estimates last month, sayings she expected the company to have difficulty meeting its numbers.

Ruettgers did say EMC will continue to aggressively price its storage systems to take market share. The company said Wednesday that its share of the storage systems market rose to 34.6 percent, according to a new report from Gartner Dataquest. EMC leads that market, the company said, followed by Compaq, with a 10.8 percent share.

"We will be driving pricing down and we will continue to do that," said Ruettgers. "It helps fuel demand in this environment."

However, Ruettgers said gross margins will stay in the 53 percent to 56 percent range predicted in April.

"We have more flexibility in the model," he said.

On other topics, Ruettgers said EMC isn't seeing a slowdown in Asia. He also said IT budgets continue to firm, echoing what he said in an April conference call. But he noted that projects are still being delayed.

"Every day CEOs are still seeing bad news and asking, 'How (does) this affects us?'" he said.

EMC shares traded at $30.30, off $1.44, or 4.54 percent, by market close Wednesday.