back to article IBM lifts its 22-quarter shrinking sales curse: Finally, a whole 1% uptick

For 22 quarters in a row, IBM's sales have been shrinking. But not any more. In the final three months of 2017, Big Blue's revenues grew 3.5 per cent compared to year-ago quarter, the first such rise in about six years. It's fair to say IBM sure took its time to regain its footing. And yet the corporation still managed to make …

  1. Dave 13


    IBM has been hollowed out by years of C-level blindness and by shortchanging customers. Who wouldn't want to do business with a company widely known to over-promise, under deliver, overcharge and shaft employees? Maybe Larry Ellison can buy it when the stock plummets..

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is Ginni finally resigning?

    After manufacturing some "good looking" numbers, maybe she'll finally GTFO!

    I see "Cloud Revenues" yet again redefined to make out like IBM are actually doing well in cloud.

  3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge


    Is this a pause in the decline or have Ignorant Boring Morons' slide bottomed out? 5 1/2 years of decline has to hit an uptick once in awhile.

  4. Nolveys

    "...with software revenue growing 0.3 per cent organically...

    I challenge everyone reading this to see how many times they can use the phrase "organic software revenue growth" on any individual person before they call you on it.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      But growing software with no pesticides is better for the environment

  5. rotmos

    In the result "Cloud" is mentioned twice as "Cloud revenues" and "Cloud Platforms" (lumped together with "Technology Services" for some reason). But "Cloud" is also a part of "Strategic Imperatives", right?

    If the objective is to obscure the reality for those like me with limited cognitive abilities by using a cloudy message it certainly worked.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Idiots the lot of them

    Idiots the lot of them

    I have to work with them and they never cease to amaze me how they can invent new ways to fail.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Idiots the lot of them

      "IBM conceded that the pickup in its software revenues was on the mainframe platform,

      So THE OLD IBM model of hardware driving software and services worked, works and will probably still work. The NEW IBM model of fairy Jinnie dust continues to underwhelm.

      This quarter is no different from anything in the recent past and the stock market concurs.

    2. Doctor Huh?

      Re: Idiots the lot of them

      "I have to work with them and they never cease to amaze me how they can invent new ways to fail."

      So THAT'S what Watson is doing -- business strategy generation! I'm glad something worthy is replacing those old Dungeons and Dragons dice.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ooo Ooo oooo

    "During 2017, we strengthened our position as the leading enterprise cloud provider and established IBM as the blockchain leader for business.""

    And 2018 will be erm A.I., yessss A.I. nooo A.I with BITCOIN! Thats it!

  8. trevorde Silver badge

    Bonus time!!!

    After a *whole* 1 percent increase in revenues, Ginni will surely be getting her $80M USD bonus

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Bonus time!!!

      It seems to me that with the money she has in the bank already, her most rational approach to the future of IBM is to not give a flying f**k. That's the basic trouble with the grotesque amounts of money these people are paid; if they're not internally driven, why bother about another year's bonus? They already have several lotteries' worth under the mattress.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who would have guessed

    IBM spent 2017 selling one time z/OS licences.

    Messrs Kelly, Gherson, Schroeter, Browdy, and Kavanaugh spent December off loading shares.

    Time for the Empress to declare her work complete and walk into a golden handshake sunset.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One thing missing...

    Is what makes Azure and AWS such a great success, technical visionaries leading the business, not sales people and bean counters.

    This is merely a blip, the downward spiral shall continue.

    1. Doctor Huh?

      Re: One thing missing...

      Visionaries may be overrated. Execution is underrated.

      The big virtue that AWS and Azure share is success in keeping the blinky lights blinking. Their always-on-infrastructure isn't perfect, but it is close enough that outages constitute major international news. IIRC, IBM has been accused of writing its contracts and terms of service such that the penalties for failing to provide the contracted level of service are less than the cost of providing the contracted level of service, hence the predominance of mostly-on-infrastructure. It turns out that there isn't much of a market for high-priced, mostly-on-infrastructure.

      1. Hans 1

        Re: One thing missing...

        Their always-on-infrastructure isn't perfect, but it is close enough that outages constitute major international news.

        Yes, on Azure's part, almost MONTHLY outages of some kind ... IBM's cloud, on the other had seems quite stable ... admittedly, it does not have as many customers ... but, when Microsoft has to reboot each and every system every month for the system patches, some of which bork the underlying OS every now and then, well .... they cannot compete, unless they throw more hardware at the problem ... and that means that if they want to remain competitive, they have make a loss ... I am pretty sure Azure, as a whole, is a major loss-maker for MS, however, their on-premise licensing cashcow keep it well hidden from the public.

        That, and, no matter how hard they try, every other year now, used to be every year, they fail to renew some certs ... ;-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One thing missing...

          IBM Cloud is the 21st century Betamax - a supposedly superior service but in reality, a marketing illusion from a corporate entity obsessively focussed on short-term gain and shareholder value. Azure and AWS = VHS - far from perfect but constantly evolving, giving clients what they want at the right price. Result = market domination. And before anyone says it, I am an ex IBM employee who has seen how much of this works behind the scenes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: One thing missing...

            How quickly can you spin up a new requirement in AWS/Azure versus IBM Cloud versus Rackspace/Sungard/etc?

            How automated are the tools across those three groups?

            How scalable are those three groups?

            How reliable are those three options if you follow their recommended redundancy practices?

            Having used AWS/Azure/Rackspace/Sungard and others over the last 10 years, the sales presentations I have seen from IBM (even when we were almost "forced" to use them) felt like stepping back 10 years... Some vendors understand what cloud can be used for and how it can benefit parts of your business while IBM are still trying to sell bandwidth and space and boxes and people to do stuff.

  11. CujoDeSoque

    I'm constantly amazed how Incredibly Bad Manglement engineers their financial statements. Did they stop rolling the mainframe revenue into their "Strategic Imperatives" buckets this quarter? Their cloud offering keeps coming back under new names so it's hard to tell.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...Finally, a whole 1% uptick

    Somebody's mainframe broke and they needed a new one.

  13. StuntMisanthrope

    Hello? Yes. Hello, a LapDance please.

    It's growth! Bonuses all round. Yippee... #passmeacarrilionandaweedraft

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huh- seems the two new chunks of shiny my employer ordered appeared to help, after all.

    anon for patently obvious reasons. :D

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So where do I move my retirement funds: IBM stock or Bitcoin?

    Well, Bitcoin has a better record of growth lately.......

    Why yes, I AM born every minute.

  16. ByTheSea

    Interesting set of numbers in that in the early 90's IBM set itself a target of becoming a 120 Billion Dollars revenue per year business by the end of the 90's. This was talked about regularly in internal presentations. Long way to go.

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