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IBM Turns in a Predictable Third Quarter

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IBM (NYSE: IBM) Monday reported revenues of $26.2 billion for its third fiscal quarter of 2011 — adjusting for currency exchange rates, a gain of three percent from the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, non-GAAP diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter came in at $3.28, up from $2.85 in 2010’s third quarter, a gain of 15 percent, according to IBM statements.

IBM posted operating non-GAAP net income in the quarter of $4.0 billion. That contrasts with $3.6 billion year-over-year, up some nine percent.

“Growth markets delivered outstanding revenue performance across software, hardware, and services and contributed to the company’s expanded margins,” Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.

“We also achieved strong results in Smarter Planet, business analytics and cloud,” he added.

In fact, the company’s bottom line during the third quarter was punctuated by moderate performances in total Global Services, which grew by 13 percent, with pre-tax income of $2.5 billion, and Software, which grew by 8 percent after currency changes to $5.8 billion.

Systems and Technology, which includes hardware, was also up, though after currency adjustments just barely, to one percent at $4.5 billion.

“Cloud revenue year to date has doubled full-year 2010 revenue,” a company statement said.

As the company has in recent quarters, officials also expanded IBM’s guidance for non-GAAP diluted EPS for the entire fiscal year to $13.35.

Last quarter, executives extended their non-GAAP diluted EPS expectations for fiscal 2011 to at least $13.25.

In the first fiscal quarter, IBM had also boosted its EPS guidance to $13.15.

Investors did not seem overly anxious over IBM’s results, although it would be inaccurate to say they were not disappointed. The company’s common stock was off 3.69 percent, down $6.89 at $180.62, in after hours trading following IBM’s announcement.

Still, the stock was trading near IBM’s 52-week high of $190.16.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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