For the full 2003 year, IBM’s sales were $89.1bn, up 9.8%, and net income was $2.06 per share. Based on IBM’s statements, Wall Street will probably raise its expectations for IBM this year.
The consensus prior to the announcement of Q4’s results was that IBM could grow sales by about 5% to about $93.6bn and would bring about $4.90 per share to the bottom line.
On a divisional basis, the optimism was running pretty high in IBM’s Systems Group, particularly with the zSeries crowd. Systems Group booked revenues of $4.9bn in the fourth quarter, up 18% as reported (only 8% at constant currency).
zSeries mainframe sales, driven by a greater-than-expected uptick in sales from the T-Rex zSeries 990 server, which was stalled by the lack of some cryptographic features that the financial services industries require, rocketed up by 33% in the quarter (constant currency).
MIPS shipments in the fourth quarter were up 62%, driven primarily by T-Rex. The question now, of course, is will demand hold for the zSeries in 2004 and beyond.
Software Group did more or less as expected, with sales of $4.3bn, up 12% for the fourth quarter as reported (only 2% at constant currency).