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In times of recession, at least there's IBM

IBM just rocked a strong quarter. Will it lead to more acquisitions of software companies?

Even as most of its businesses saw declines (unless one adjusts for currency fluctuations), IBM's software business saved IBM's quarter, as Bloomberg reports, growing 9 percent when adjusted for currency. It's a testament to IBM's forward thinking, buying up a range of high-margin software businesses to shore up its financials in times of crisis.

From CNET's report:

"A strong fourth quarter capped an outstanding year," [IBM CEO Samuel] Palmisano said. "In 2008, IBM performed well in an extremely difficult economic environment. Clearly our strategic transformation--migrating to the more profitable segments of the industry, investing in growth regions of the world, and driving productivity through global integration--is continuing to pay dividends."

Amen, and well done. It's also a testament to the tremendous power of IBM's brand that it can swim against a recession while other software companies falter.

With IBM promoting a positive outlook for 2009, hopefully the industry will react with equal positiveness. But perhaps we'll see a range of hardware-heavy businesses buy more aggressively in the software market, given depressed valuations?