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For EMC, revenue record but cloudy outlook

The storage giant says that while it took in $4 billion in revenue during the quarter, net income is way down. How does 2009 look for IT spending? Not so hot.

EMC hit its mark of $4 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter, its highest-ever quarterly total.

The storage giant had said earlier this month, in its preliminary forecast for the quarter, that it expected to reach that level. On that same occasion, it announced that it would cut 2,400 jobs.

For the quarter ended December 31, EMC posted revenue of $4.02 billion, up 5 percent year over year and up 8 percent from the third quarter. Net income for the Hopkinton, Mass.-based company was $288.0 million, or 14 cents per share (including a 10 cent restructuring charge), substantially below the $526 million in net income--and 25 cents per share--for the year-earlier period.

For the full year, EMC reported revenue of $14.88 billion, up 12 percent year over year.

While the company relished its ability to perform well in a tough economic climate during the quarter, it still offered some sobering words about the prospects for 2009. Any change for the better, it said Tuesday, may not come until later in the year:

EMC's best estimate is that 2009 global IT spending will decline as a percentage in the mid to high single digits compared with 2008. The company expects the markets that it addresses will perform slightly better than the overall IT market. The company also expects that a higher than usual percentage of the full-year IT spending will take place in the second half of the year.

Virtualization software specialist VMware, which is majority-owned by EMC, contributed fourth-quarter revenue of $514 million, EMC said.