Tuesday, October 18, 2011

IBM: Forever Young?

Getting older but staying physically young? It seems that some companies are doing that with a great success. Look at IBM!  "Big Blue" (the nickname refers to the preferred color in their marketing campaigns) is really an old-timer, founded in 1911 (wikipedia ). But the company rejuvenates itself constantly and stays very modern. Their stock performance is proof. Last week IBM shares reached an all-time high, around 50% higher than in the spring of 2000, at the peak of the former dot.com boom (finance.yahoo).

IBM started with electric tabulating machines and other office equipment and adapted continuously to  technical progress. In the last century they were the leader in the development of computers and PCs. Now the technology bellwether focuses more and more on services for other companies, consulting them how to use the advances of the Internet and other forms of digital technology.

These changes are paying off.  Yesterday the technology goliath reported business numbers from Q3. Profit per share rose 7%, more than expected. Revenues climbed 8%  and the management lifted the profit outlook for the whole year. These are quite strong numbers considering the sluggish global economy!

Wikipedia claims that IBM holds more patents than any other U.S.-based technology company and has nine research laboratories worldwide. In addition to strength in its hardware business, the news channel Dow Jones reports, that  IBM benefits from its investments in emerging markets and growing technology sectors such as business analytics and cloud computing. Further, in the latest period, business-analytics revenue gained 19%, and total revenue in the company's growth markets--which include Brazil, Russia, India and China--was up 19%, or 13% adjusted for foreign exchange. Regarding to Dow Jones growth-markets revenue represented 23% of total geographic revenue; IBM is aiming for that percentage to approach 30% by the end of 2015.

These statistics and the rising profits & revenues prove that IBM stays on the frontier of the technical progress. "Big Blue" is a role model for adaption. Charles Darwin taught us that continuous adjustments to the challenges of our environment are necessary to survive and to be successful. Therefore IBM is a role model for the whole corporate world.

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