IBM's fourth-quarter earnings were solid,
although its revenue was lighter than expected. The company's 2012 and 2015
outlooks remain on track.
Big Blue reported fourth quarter earnings of $5.5 billion, or $4.62 a share. Non-GAAP earnings, which excludes charges and other items, were $4.71 a share.
Wall Street was looking for fourth quarter earnings of $4.62 a share on revenue of $29.7 billion.
For the fourth quarter, revenue was up 4 percent. CEO Ginni Rometty,
however, said that the company is on track toward delivering 2015
operating earnings of $20 a share. Wall Street was watching to see if
Rometty would stick with IBM's 2015 view.
As for IBM's outlook, the company projected 2012 earnings of $14.85 a
share on a non-GAAP basis and $14.16 a share GAAP. Wall Street was
looking for earnings of $14.82.
By the numbers for the fourth quarter:
Services revenue was up 3 percent to $10.5 billion. Business
services revenue was $4.9 billion. Services backlog was $141 billion.
Software revenue was up 9 percent in the fourth quarter to $7.6
billion. Operating income was $3.7 billion. Middleware revenue was $5.2
billion, up 11 percent.
Revenue in the BRIC countries--Brazil, Russia, India and China--was up 10 percent.
Hardware revenue was $5.8 billion, down 8 percent from a year ago.
Operating income was $790 million, down 33 percent. IBM was coming down
from a mainframe upgrade cycle.