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Notes to consolidated financial statements (audited)
International Business Machines Corporation and Subsidiary Companies

A. Significant accounting policies

Basis of presentation

In the first quarter of 2007, the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM and/or the company) changed the presentation of revenue and cost in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings to reflect the categories of Services, Sales and Financing. Previously, the presentation included Global Services, Hardware, Software, Global Financing and an Other category. In the past, these categories were aligned with the company’s reportable segment presentation of external revenue and cost. However, as the company moves toward delivering solutions which bring integrated software and services capabilities to its clients, the alignment between segments and categories will diverge. Therefore, there are situations where the Global Services segments could include software revenue, and conversely, the Software segment may have services revenue. The change was made to avoid possible confusion between the segment revenue and cost presentation and the required category presentation in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings.

The change only impacts the format for the presentation of the company’s revenue and cost in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings and does not reflect any change in the company’s reportable segment results or in the company’s organizational structure. The periods presented in this Annual Report are reported on a comparable basis. The management discussion and analysis of revenue and gross profit from continuing operations focuses on the segment view, as this is how the business is managed and is the best reflection of the company’s operating results and strategy.

On December 31, 2002, the company sold its hard disk drive (HDD) business to Hitachi, Ltd. (Hitachi). The HDD business was part of the Systems and Technology reportable segment. The HDD business was accounted for as a discontinued operation under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP) and therefore, the HDD results of operations and cash flows have been removed from the company’s results of continuing operations and cash flows for all periods presented in this document.

For 2006, Income from discontinued operations, net of tax, is related to tax benefits from tax audit settlements. For 2005, the Loss from discontinued operations, net of tax, is primarily additional costs associated with parts warranty as agreed upon by the company and Hitachi.

Consolidated statement of cash flows

Subsequent to the company’s Form 10-Q filing on October 30, 2007 for the quarter ended September 30, 2007, it was determined that “Proceeds from new debt” and “Payments to settle debt” were understated by an equal, offsetting amount of $3,760 million with no impact on the “Net cash used in financing activities from continuing operations” section of the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows for the nine months ended September 30, 2007.

The company assessed this reporting issue and determined it to be both qualitatively and quantitatively immaterial with respect to the overall Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows and the key categories presented in the statement: Net cash used in operating, investing and financing activities from continuing operations. In the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows for the year ended December 31, 2007, the company has made the adjustments described above. In 2008, the company will present the corrected amounts for the nine months ended September 30, 2007 in its Form 10-Q for the third quarter of 2008.

Principles of consolidation

The Consolidated Financial Statements include the accounts of IBM and its controlled subsidiaries, which are generally majority owned. The accounts of variable interest entities (VIEs) as defined by Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Interpretation No. 46(R), “Accounting for Variable Interest Entities,” (FIN 46(R)), are included in the Consolidated Financial Statements, if required. Investments in business entities in which the company does not have control, but has the ability to exercise significant influence over operating and financial policies, are accounted for using the equity method and the company’s proportionate share of income or loss is recorded in Other (income) and expense. The accounting policy for other investments in equity securities is described within “Marketable Securities” below. Equity investments in non-publicly traded entities are primarily accounted for using the cost method. All significant intercompany transactions and accounts have been eliminated in consolidation.

Use of estimates

The preparation of Consolidated Financial Statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, costs, expenses and gains and losses not affecting retained earnings that are reported in the Consolidated Financial Statements and accompanying disclosures, including the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. These estimates are based on management’s best knowledge of current events, historical experience, actions that the company may undertake in the future and on various other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. As a result, actual results may be different from these estimates. See “IBM continuing operation critical accounting estimates” and “Global Financing critical accounting estimates” for a discussion of the company’s critical accounting estimates.

Revenue

The company recognizes revenue when it is realized or realizable and earned. The company considers revenue realized or realizable and earned when it has persuasive evidence of an arrangement, delivery has occurred, the sales price is fixed or determinable and collectibility is reasonably assured. Delivery does not occur until products have been shipped or services have been provided to the client, risk of loss has transferred to the client, and either client acceptance has been obtained, client acceptance provisions have lapsed, or the company has objective evidence that the criteria specified in the client acceptance provisions have been satisfied. The sales price is not considered to be fixed or determinable until all contingencies related to the sale have been resolved.

The company recognizes revenue on sales to solution providers, resellers and distributors (herein referred to as “resellers”) when the reseller has economic substance apart from the company, credit risk, title and risk of loss to the inventory, the fee to the company is not contingent upon resale or payment by the end user, the company has no further obligations related to bringing about resale or delivery and all other revenue recognition criteria have been met.

The company reduces revenue for estimated client returns, stock rotation, price protection, rebates and other similar allowances. (See Schedule II, “Valuation and Qualifying Accounts and Reserves” included in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K). Revenue is recognized only if these estimates can be reasonably and reliably determined. The company bases its estimates on historical results taking into consideration the type of client, the type of transaction and the specifics of each arrangement. Payments made under cooperative marketing programs are recognized as an expense only if the company receives from the client an identifiable benefit sufficiently separable from the product sale whose fair value can be reasonably and reliably estimated. If the company does not receive an identifiable benefit sufficiently separable from the product sale whose fair value can be reasonably estimated, such payments are recorded as a reduction of revenue.

Revenue from sales of third-party vendor products or services is recorded net of costs when the company is acting as an agent between the client and vendor and gross when the company is a principal to the transaction. Several factors are considered to determine whether the company is an agent or principal, most notably whether the company is the primary obligor to the client, or has inventory risk. Consideration is also given to whether the company adds meaningful value to the vendor’s product or service, was involved in the selection of the vendor’s product or service, has latitude in establishing the sales price or has credit risk.

The company reports revenue net of any revenue-based taxes assessed by governmental authorities that are imposed on and concurrent with specific revenue-producing transactions. In addition to the aforementioned general policies, the following are the specific revenue recognition policies for multiple-element arrangements and for each major category of revenue.

MULTIPLE-ELEMENT ARRANGEMENTS

The company enters into multiple-element revenue arrangements, which may include any combination of services, software, hardware and/or financing. To the extent that a deliverable in a multiple- element arrangement is subject to specific guidance such as leased hardware that is subject to Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) No. 13, “Accounting for Leases,” or software that is subject to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Statement of Position (SOP) No. 97-2, “Software Revenue Recognition,” see “Software” below on whether and/or how to separate multiple deliverable arrangements into separate units of accounting (separability) and how to allocate the arrangement consideration among those separate units of accounting (allocation), that deliverable is accounted for in accordance with such specific guidance. For all other deliverables in multiple-element arrangements, the guidance below is applied for separability and allocation. A multiple-element arrangement is separated into more than one unit of accounting if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The delivered item(s) has value to the client on a stand-alone basis;
  • There is objective and reliable evidence of the fair value of the undelivered item(s); and
  • If the arrangement includes a general right of return relative to the delivered item(s), delivery or performance of the undelivered item(s) is considered probable and substantially in the control of the company.

If these criteria are not met, the arrangement is accounted for as one unit of accounting which would result in revenue being recognized on a straight-line basis or being deferred until the earlier of when such criteria are met or when the last undelivered element is delivered. If these criteria are met for each element and there is objective and reliable evidence of fair value for all units of accounting in an arrangement, the arrangement consideration is allocated to the separate units of accounting based on each unit’s relative fair value. There may be cases, however, in which there is objective and reliable evidence of fair value of the undelivered item(s) but no such evidence for the delivered item(s). In those cases, the residual method is used to allocate the arrangement consideration. Under the residual method, the amount of consideration allocated to the delivered item(s) equals the total arrangement consideration less the aggregate fair value of the undelivered item(s). The revenue policies described below are then applied to each unit of accounting, as applicable.

If the allocation of consideration in a profitable arrangement results in a loss on an element (other than service elements as discussed below), that loss is recognized at the earlier of (a) delivery of that element, (b) when the first dollar of revenue is recognized on that element, or (c) when there are no remaining profitable elements in the arrangement to be delivered.

Services

The company’s primary services offerings include information technology (IT) datacenter and business process outsourcing, application management services, consulting and systems integration, technology infrastructure and system maintenance, Web hosting and the design and development of complex IT systems to a client’s specifications (Design and Build). These services are provided on a time-and-material basis, as a fixed-price contract or as a fixed-price per measure of output contract and the contract terms range from less than one year to over 10 years.

Revenue from IT datacenter and business process outsourcing contracts is recognized in the period the services are provided using either an objective measure of output or a straight-line basis over the term of the contract. Under the output method, the amount of revenue recognized is based on the services delivered in the period.

Revenue from application management services, technology infrastructure and system maintenance and Web hosting contracts is recognized on a straight-line basis over the terms of the contracts. Revenue from time-and-material contracts is recognized as labor hours are delivered and direct expenses are incurred. Revenue related to extended warranty and product maintenance contracts is recognized on a straight-line basis over the delivery period.

Revenue from fixed-price Design and Build contracts is recognized in accordance with SOP No. 81-1, “Accounting for Performance of Construction-Type and Certain Production-Type Contracts,” under the percentage-of-completion (POC) method. Under the POC method, revenue is recognized based on the labor costs incurred to date as a percentage of the total estimated labor costs to fulfill the contract. If circumstances arise that change the original estimates of revenues, costs, or extent of progress toward completion, revisions to the estimates are made. These revisions may result in increases or decreases in estimated revenues or costs, and such revisions are reflected in income in the period in which the circumstances that give rise to the revision become known by management.

The company performs ongoing profitability analyses of its services contracts accounted for under the POC method in order to determine whether the latest estimates of revenue, costs and profits require updating. If at any time these estimates indicate that the contract will be unprofitable, the entire estimated loss for the remainder of the contract is recorded immediately. For non-POC service contracts, losses are recorded as incurred.

In some of the company’s services contracts, the company bills the client prior to recognizing revenue from performing the services. Deferred income of $5,997 million and $5,011 million at December 31, 2007 and 2006, respectively, is included in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. The year-to-year increase was driven by growth in the services business and the impacts of currency. In other services contracts, the company performs the services prior to billing the client. Unbilled accounts receivable of $2,192 million and $1,762 million at December 31, 2007 and 2006, respectively, are included in Notes and accounts receivable-trade in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. Billings usually occur in the month after the company performs the services or in accordance with specific contractual provisions. Unbilled receivables are expected to be billed and collected within four months.

Hardware

Revenue from hardware sales and sales-type leases is recognized when risk of loss has transferred to the client and there are no unfulfilled company obligations that affect the client’s final acceptance of the arrangement. Any cost of standard warranties and remaining obligations that are inconsequential or perfunctory are accrued when the corresponding revenue is recognized. Revenue from rentals and operating leases is recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the rental or lease.

Software

Revenue from perpetual (one-time charge) license software is recognized at the inception of the license term if all revenue recognition criteria have been met. Revenue from term (recurring license charge) license software is recognized on a subscription basis over the period that the client is entitled to use the license. Revenue from maintenance, unspecified upgrades on a when-and-if-available basis and technical support is recognized on a straight-line basis over the period such items are delivered. In multiple-element revenue arrangements that include software that is more than incidental to the products or services as a whole (software multiple-element arrangements), software and software-related elements are accounted for in accordance with the following criteria. Software-related elements include software products and services, as well as any non-software deliverable for which a software deliverable is essential to its functionality.

A software multiple-element arrangement is separated into more than one unit of accounting if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The functionality of the delivered element(s) is not dependent on the undelivered element(s);
  • There is vendor-specific objective evidence (VSOE) of fair value of the undelivered element(s). VSOE of fair value is based on the price charged when the deliverable is sold separately by the company on a regular basis and not as part of the multiple-element arrangement; and
  • Delivery of the delivered element(s) represents the culmination of the earnings process for that element(s).

If any one of these criteria are not met, the arrangement is accounted for as one unit of accounting which would result in revenue being recognized on a straight-line basis or being deferred until the earlier of when such criteria are met or when the last undelivered element is delivered. If these criteria are met for each element and there is VSOE of fair value for all units of accounting in an arrangement, the arrangement consideration is allocated to the separate units of accounting based on each unit’s relative VSOE of fair value. There may be cases, however, in which there is VSOE of fair value of the undelivered item(s) but no such evidence for the delivered item(s). In these cases, the residual method is used to allocate the arrangement consideration. Under the residual method, the amount of consideration allocated to the delivered item(s) equals the total arrangement consideration less the aggregate VSOE of fair value of the undelivered elements.

Financing

Financing income attributable to sales-type leases, direct financing leases and loans is recognized on the accrual basis using the effective interest method. Operating lease income is recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease.

Services costs

Recurring operating costs for services contracts, including costs related to bid and proposal activities, are recognized as incurred. For fixed price Design and Build contracts, the costs of external hardware and software accounted for under the POC method are deferred and recognized based on the labor costs incurred to date, as a percentage of the total estimated labor costs to fulfill the contract. Certain eligible, nonrecurring costs incurred in the initial phases of outsourcing contracts are deferred and subsequently amortized. These costs consist of transition and setup costs related to the installation of systems and processes and are amortized on a straight-line basis over the expected period of benefit, not to exceed the term of the contract. Additionally, fixed assets associated with outsourcing contracts are capitalized and depreciated on a straight-line basis over the expected useful life of the asset. If an asset is contract specific, then the depreciation period is the shorter of the useful life of the asset or the contract term. Amounts paid to clients in excess of the fair value of acquired assets used in outsourcing arrangements are deferred and amortized on a straight-line basis as a reduction of revenue over the expected period of benefit not to exceed the term of the contract. The company performs periodic reviews to assess the recoverability of deferred contract transition and set up costs. This review is done by comparing the estimated minimum remaining undiscounted cash flows of a contract to the unamortized contract costs. If such minimum undiscounted cash flows are not sufficient to recover the unamortized costs, a loss is recognized.

Deferred services transition and setup costs were $1,881 million and $1,511 million at December 31, 2007 and December 31, 2006, respectively. The primary driver of the increase year to year was the continued growth of the Global Services business. Amortization expense of deferred services transition and setup costs is estimated at December 31, 2007 to be $517 million in 2008, $414 million in 2009, $325 million in 2010, $258 million in 2011, and $367 million thereafter.

Deferred amounts paid to clients in excess of the fair value of acquired assets used in outsourcing arrangements were $202 million and $210 million at December 31, 2007 and December 31, 2006, respectively. Amortization of deferred amounts paid to clients in excess of the fair value of acquired assets is recorded as an offset of revenue and is estimated at December 31, 2007 to be $92 million in 2008, $46 million in 2009, $33 million in 2010, $20 million in 2011, and $11 million thereafter.

In situations in which an outsourcing contract is terminated, the terms of the contract may require the client to reimburse the company for the recovery of unbilled accounts receivable, unamortized deferred costs incurred to purchase specific assets utilized in the delivery of services and to pay any additional costs incurred by the company to transition the services.

Software costs

Costs that are related to the conceptual formulation and design of licensed programs are expensed as incurred to research, development and engineering expense. Also, for licensed programs, the company capitalizes costs that are incurred to produce the finished product after technological feasibility has been established. Capitalized amounts are amortized using the straight-line method, which is applied over periods ranging up to three years. The company performs periodic reviews to ensure that unamortized program costs remain recoverable from future revenue. Costs to support or service licensed programs are charged to software cost as incurred.

The company capitalizes certain costs that are incurred to purchase or to create and implement internal-use computer software, which includes software coding, installation, testing and certain data conversions. These capitalized costs are amortized on a straight-line basis over two years and are recorded in Selling, general and administrative expense. See note I, “Intangible Assets Including Goodwill”.

Product warranties

The company offers warranties for its hardware products that range up to three years, with the majority being either one or three years. Estimated costs for warranty terms standard to the deliverable are recognized when revenue is recorded for the related deliverable. The company estimates its warranty costs standard to the deliverable based on historical warranty claim experience and applies this estimate to the revenue stream for products under warranty. Estimated future costs for warranties applicable to revenue recognized in the current period are charged to cost of revenue. The warranty accrual is reviewed quarterly to verify that it properly reflects the remaining obligation based on the anticipated expenditures over the balance of the obligation period. Adjustments are made when actual warranty claim experience differs from estimates. Costs from fixed-price support or maintenance contracts, including extended-warranty contracts, are recognized as incurred.

Changes in the warranty liability balance are presented in the following table:

($ in millions) 2007 2006
Balance at January 1 $ 582 $ 754
Current period accruals 466 540
Accrual adjustments to reflect actual experience (29) 49
Charges incurred (607) (762)
Balance at December 31 $ 412 $ 582

The decrease in the balance was primarily driven by a reduction in estimated future costs as a result of the divestiture of the Personal Computing business to Lenovo Group Limited (Lenovo) in April 2005.

Shipping and handling

Costs related to shipping and handling are recognized as incurred and included in Cost in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings.

Expense and other income

Selling, General and Administrative

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expense is charged to income as incurred. Expenses of promoting and selling products and services are classified as selling expense and include such items as advertising, sales commissions and travel. General and administrative expense includes such items as compensation, office supplies, non-income taxes, insurance and office rental. In addition, general and administrative expense includes other operating items such as a provision for doubtful accounts, workforce accruals for contractually obligated payments to employees terminated in the ongoing course of business, amortization of certain intangible assets and environmental remediation costs. Certain special actions discussed in note Q, “2005 Actions,” are also included in SG&A expense.

Advertising and Promotional Expense

The company expenses advertising and promotional costs when incurred. Cooperative advertising reimbursements from vendors are recorded net of advertising and promotional expense in the period the related advertising and promotional expense is incurred. Advertising and promotional expense, which includes media, agency and promotional expense, was $1,242 million, $1,195 million and $1,284 million in 2007, 2006 and 2005, respectively, and is recorded in SG&A expense in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings.

Research, Development and Engineering

Research, development and engineering (RD&E) costs are expensed as incurred.

Intellectual Property and Custom Development Income

As part of the company’s business model and as a result of the company’s ongoing investment in research and development, the company licenses and sells the rights to certain of its intellectual property (IP) including internally developed patents, trade secrets and technological know-how. Certain transfers of IP to third parties are licensing/royalty-based and other transfers are transaction-based sales and other transfers. Licensing/royalty-based fees involve transfers in which the company earns the income over time, or the amount of income is not fixed or determinable until the licensee sells future related products (i.e., variable royalty, based upon licensee’s revenue). Sales and other transfers typically include transfers of IP whereby the company has fulfilled its obligations and the fee received is fixed or determinable at the transfer date. The company also enters into cross-licensing arrangements of patents, and income from these arrangements is recorded only to the extent cash is received. Furthermore, the company earns income from certain custom development projects for strategic technology partners and specific clients. The company records the income from these projects when the fee is realized or realizable and earned, is not refundable and is not dependent upon the success of the project.

Other (Income) and Expense

Other (income) and expense includes interest income (other than from Global Financing external business transactions), gains and losses on certain derivative instruments, gains and losses from securities and other investments, gains and losses from certain real estate transactions, foreign currency transaction gains and losses, gains and losses from the sale of businesses and amounts related to accretion of asset retirement obligations. Certain special actions discussed in note Q, “2005 Actions,” are also included in Other (income) and expense.

Business combinations and intangible assets including goodwill

The company accounts for business combinations using the purchase method of accounting and accordingly, the assets and liabilities of the acquired entities are recorded at their estimated fair values at the acquisition date. Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of net assets, including the amount assigned to identifiable intangible assets. The company does not amortize the goodwill balance. Substantially all of the goodwill is not deductible for tax purposes. The primary drivers that generate goodwill are the value of synergies between the acquired entities and the company and the acquired assembled workforce, neither of which qualifies as an identifiable intangible asset. Identifiable intangible assets with finite lives are amortized over their useful lives. See note C, “Acquisitions/Divestitures,” and note I, “Intangible Assets Including Goodwill,” for additional information. The results of operations of acquired businesses are included in the Consolidated Financial Statements from the acquisition date.

Impairment

Long-lived assets, other than goodwill, are tested for impairment based on undiscounted cash flows and, if impaired, written down to fair value based on either discounted cash flows or appraised values. Goodwill is tested annually for impairment, or sooner when circumstances indicate an impairment may exist, using a fair-value approach at the reporting unit level. A reporting unit is the operating segment, or a business, which is one level below that operating segment (the “component” level) if discrete financial information is prepared and regularly reviewed by management at the segment level. Components are aggregated as a single reporting unit if they have similar economic characteristics.

Depreciation and amortization

Plant, rental machines and other property are carried at cost and depreciated over their estimated useful lives using the straight-line method. The estimated useful lives of certain depreciable assets are as follows: buildings, 50 years; building equipment, 10 to 20 years; land improvements, 20 years; plant, laboratory and office equipment, two to 15 years; and computer equipment, 1.5 to five years. Leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of their estimated useful lives or the related lease term, rarely exceeding 25 years.

Capitalized software costs incurred or acquired after technological feasibility has been established are amortized over periods up to seven years. Capitalized costs for internal-use software are amortized on a straight-line basis over periods up to two years. (See “Software Costs” below for additional information). Other intangible assets are amortized over periods between three and seven years.

Environmental

The cost of internal environmental protection programs that are preventative in nature are expensed as incurred. When a cleanup program becomes likely, and it is probable that the company will incur cleanup costs and those costs can be reasonably estimated, the company accrues remediation costs for known environmental liabilities. The company’s maximum exposure for all environmental liabilities cannot be estimated and no amounts are recorded for environmental liabilities that are not probable or estimable.

Asset retirement obligations

Asset retirement obligations (ARO) are legal obligations associated with the retirement of long-lived assets. These liabilities are initially recorded at fair value and the related asset retirement costs are capitalized by increasing the carrying amount of the related assets by the same amount as the liability. Asset retirement costs are subsequently depreciated over the useful lives of the related assets. Subsequent to initial recognition, the company records period-to-period changes in the ARO liability resulting from the passage of time in Interest expense and revisions to either the timing or the amount of the original expected cash flows to the related assets.

Defined benefit pension and nonpension post retirement benefit plans

The funded status of the company’s defined benefit pension plans and nonpension postretirement benefit plans (retirement-related benefit plans) is recognized in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. The funded status is measured as the difference between the fair value of plan assets and the benefit obligation at December 31, the measurement date. For defined benefit pension plans, the benefit obligation is the projected benefit obligation (PBO), which represents the actuarial present value of benefits expected to be paid upon retirement based on estimated future compensation levels. For the nonpension postretirement benefit plans, the benefit obligation is the accumulated postretirement benefit obligation (APBO), which represents the actuarial present value of postretirement benefits attributed to employee services already rendered. The fair value of plan assets represents the current market value of cumulative company and participant contributions made to an irrevocable trust fund, held for the sole benefit of participants, which are invested by the trust fund. Overfunded plans, with the fair value of plan assets exceeding the benefit obligation, are aggregated and recorded as a Prepaid pension asset equal to this excess. Underfunded plans, with the benefit obligation exceeding the fair value of plan assets, are aggregated and recorded as a Retirement and nonpension postretirement benefit obligation equal to this excess.

The current portion of the Retirement and nonpension postretirement benefit obligations represents the actuarial present value of benefits payable in the next 12 months exceeding the fair value of plan assets, measured on a plan-by-plan basis. This obligation is recorded in Compensation and benefits in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position.

Net periodic pension and nonpension postretirement benefit cost/(income) is recorded in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings and includes service cost, interest cost, expected return on plan assets, amortization of prior service costs/(credits) and (gains)/losses previously recognized as a component of Gains and (losses) not affecting retained earnings and amortization of the net transition asset remaining in Accumulated gains and (losses) not affecting retained earnings. Service cost represents the actuarial present value of participant benefits earned in the current year. Interest cost represents the time value of money cost associated with the passage of time. Certain events, such as changes in employee base, plan amendments and changes in actuarial assumptions, result in a change in the benefit obligation and the corresponding change in the Gains and (losses) not affecting retained earnings. The result of these events is amortized as a component of net periodic cost/(income) over the service lives of the participants, provided such amounts exceed thresholds which are based upon the benefit obligation or the value of plan assets. The average service lives of the participants in the IBM Personal Pension Plan, a U.S. defined benefit pension plan, currently approximates 10 years and varies for participants in non-U.S. plans. Net periodic cost/(income) is recorded in Cost, SG&A and RD&E in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings based on the employees’ respective function.

(Gains)/losses and prior service costs/(credits) not recognized as a component of net periodic cost/(income) in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings as they arise are recognized as a component of Gains and (losses) not affecting retained earnings in the Consolidated Statement of Stockholders’ Equity, net of tax. Those (gains)/losses and prior service costs/(credits) are subsequently recognized as a component of net periodic cost/(income) pursuant to the recognition and amortization provisions of applicable accounting standards. (Gains)/losses arise as a result of differences between actual experience and assumptions or as a result of changes in actuarial assumptions. Prior service costs/(credits) represent the cost of benefit improvements attributable to prior service granted in plan amendments.

The measurement of benefit obligations and net periodic cost/(income) is provided by third-party actuaries based on estimates and assumptions approved by the company’s management. These valuations reflect the terms of the plans and use participant-specific information such as compensation, age and years of service, as well as certain assumptions, including estimates of discount rates, expected return on plan assets, rate of compensation increases, interest crediting rates and mortality rates.

Defined contribution plans

The company records expense for defined contribution plans for the company’s contribution when the employee renders service to the company, essentially coinciding with the cash contributions to the plans. The expense is recorded in Cost, SG&A and RD&E in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings based on the employees’ respective function.

Stock-based compensation

Stock-based compensation represents the cost related to stock-based awards granted to employees. The company measures stock-based compensation cost at grant date, based on the estimated fair value of the award and recognizes the cost on a straight-line basis (net of estimated forfeitures) over the employee requisite service period. The company estimates the fair value of stock options using a Black-Scholes valuation model. The cost is recorded in Cost, SG&A and RD&E in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings based on the employees’ respective function.

The company records deferred tax assets for awards that result in deductions on the company’s income tax returns, based on the amount of compensation cost recognized and the statutory tax rate in the jurisdiction in which it will receive a deduction. Differences between the deferred tax assets recognized for financial reporting purposes and the actual tax deduction reported on the income tax return are recorded in Additional Paid-In Capital (if the tax deduction exceeds the deferred tax asset) or in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings (if the deferred tax asset exceeds the tax deduction and no additional paid-in capital exists from previous awards).

See note T, “Stock-Based Compensation” for additional information.

Income taxes

Income tax expense is based on reported income before income taxes. Deferred income taxes reflect the tax effect of temporary differences between asset and liability amounts that are recognized for financial reporting purposes and the amounts that are recognized for income tax purposes. These deferred taxes are measured by applying currently enacted tax laws. Valuation allowances are recognized to reduce deferred tax assets to the amount that will more likely than not be realized. In assessing the need for a valuation allowance, management considers all available evidence including past operating results, estimates of future taxable income and the feasibility of ongoing tax planning strategies. When the company changes its determination as to the amount of deferred tax assets that can be realized, the valuation allowance is adjusted with a corresponding impact to income tax expense in the period in which such determination is made.

The company recognizes tax liabilities when, despite the company’s belief that its tax return positions are supportable, the company believes that certain positions may not be fully sustained upon review by tax authorities. Benefits from tax positions are measured at the largest amount of benefit that is greater than 50 percent likely of being realized upon settlement. The current portion of tax liabilities is included in Taxes and the noncurrent portion of tax liabilities is included in Other Liabilities in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. To the extent that the final tax outcome of these matters is different than the amounts recorded, such differences impact income tax expense in the period in which such determination is made. Interest and penalties, if any, related to accrued liabilities for potential tax assessments are included in income tax expense.

Translation of non-U.S. currency amounts

Assets and liabilities of non-U.S. subsidiaries that have a local functional currency are translated to U.S. dollars at year-end exchange rates. Translation adjustments are recorded in Accumulated gains and (losses) not affecting retained earnings in the Consolidated Statement of Stockholders’ Equity. Income and expense items are translated at weighted-average rates of exchange prevailing during the year.

Inventories, Plant, rental machines and other property—net, and other non-monetary assets and liabilities of non-U.S. subsidiaries and branches that operate in U.S. dollars are translated at approximate exchange rates prevailing when the company acquired the assets or liabilities. All other assets and liabilities denominated in a currency other than U.S. dollars are translated at year-end exchange rates with the transaction gain or loss recognized in Other (income) and expense. Cost of sales and depreciation are translated at historical exchange rates. All other income and expense items are translated at the weighted-average rates of exchange prevailing during the year. These translation gains and losses are included in Net income for the period in which exchange rates change.

Derivatives

All derivatives are recognized in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position at fair value and are reported in Prepaid expenses and other current assets, Investments and sundry assets, Other accrued expenses and liabilities or Other liabilities. Classification of each derivative as current or noncurrent is based upon whether the maturity of the instrument is less than or greater than 12 months. To qualify for hedge accounting in accordance with SFAS No. 133, “Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities,” as amended by SFAS No. 138, “Accounting for Certain Derivative Instruments and Certain Hedging Activities,” SFAS No. 149, “Amendment of Statement 133 on Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities,” and SFAS No. 155, “Accounting for Certain Hybrid Financial Instruments—An Amendment of FASB Statements No. 133 and 140” (collectively, “SFAS No. 133”), the company requires that the instruments be effective in reducing the risk exposure that they are designated to hedge. For instruments that hedge cash flows, hedge effectiveness criteria also require that it be probable that the underlying transaction will occur. Instruments that meet established accounting criteria are formally designated as hedges. These criteria demonstrate that the derivative is expected to be highly effective at offsetting changes in fair value or cash flows of the underlying exposure both at inception of the hedging relationship and on an ongoing basis. The method of assessing hedge effectiveness and measuring hedge ineffectiveness is formally documented at hedge inception. The company assesses hedge effectiveness and measures hedge ineffectiveness at least quarterly throughout the designated hedge period.

The company applies hedge accounting in accordance with SFAS No. 133, whereby the company designates each derivative as a hedge of: (1) the fair value of a recognized financial asset or liability or of an unrecognized firm commitment (“fair value” hedge); (2) the variability of anticipated cash flows of a forecasted transaction or the cash flows to be received or paid related to a recognized financial asset or liability (“cash flow” hedge); or (3) a hedge of a long-term investment (“net investment” hedge) in a foreign operation. In addition, the company may enter into derivative contracts that economically hedge certain of its risks, even though hedge accounting does not apply or the company elects not to apply hedge accounting under SFAS No. 133. In these cases, there exists a natural hedging relationship in which changes in the fair value of the derivative, which are recognized currently in Net income, act as an economic offset to changes in the fair value of the underlying hedged item(s).

Changes in the fair value of a derivative that is designated as a fair value hedge, along with offsetting changes in the fair value of the underlying hedged exposure, are recorded in earnings each period. For hedges of interest rate risk, the fair value adjustments are recorded as adjustments to Interest expense and Cost of Financing in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings. For hedges of currency risk associated with recorded financial assets or liabilities, derivative fair value adjustments are recognized in Other (income) and expense in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings. Changes in the fair value of a derivative that is designated as a cash flow hedge are recorded, net of applicable taxes, in the Accumulated gains and (losses) not affecting retained earnings, a component of Stockholders’ equity. When Net income is affected by the variability of the underlying cash flow, the applicable offsetting amount of the gain or loss from the derivative that is deferred in Stockholders’ equity is released to Net income and reported in Interest expense, Cost, SG&A expense or Other (income) and expense in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings based on the nature of the underlying cash flow hedged. Effectiveness for net investment hedging derivatives is measured on a spot-to-spot basis. The effective portion of changes in the fair value of net investment hedging derivatives and other non-derivative financial instruments designated as net investment hedges are recorded as foreign currency translation adjustments, net of applicable taxes, in the Accumulated gains and (losses) not affecting retained earnings section of the Consolidated Statement of Stockholders’ Equity. Changes in the fair value of the portion of a net investment hedging derivative excluded from the effectiveness assessment are recorded in Interest expense.

When the underlying hedged item ceases to exist, all changes in the fair value of the derivative are included in Net income each period until the instrument matures. When the derivative transaction ceases to exist, a hedged asset or liability is no longer adjusted for changes in its fair value except as required under other relevant accounting standards. Derivatives that are not designated as hedges, as well as changes in the fair value of derivatives that do not effectively offset changes in the fair value of the underlying hedged item throughout the designated hedge period (collectively, “ineffectiveness”), are recorded in Net income each period and are reported in Other (income) and expense.

The company reports cash flows arising from derivative financial instruments designated as fair value or cash flow hedges consistent with the classification of cash flows from the underlying hedged items that these derivatives are hedging. Accordingly, the cash flows associated with derivatives designated as fair value or cash flow hedges are classified in Cash flows from operating activities in the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows. Cash flows from derivatives designated as net investment hedges and derivatives that do not qualify as hedges are reported in investing activities. For currency swaps designated as hedges of foreign currency denominated debt (included in the company’s debt risk management program as addressed in note K, “Derivatives and Hedging Transactions”), cash flows directly associated with the settlement of the principal element of these swaps are reported in Payments to settle debt in the Cash flow from financing activities section of the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows.

Financial instruments

In determining the fair value of its financial instruments, the company uses a variety of methods and assumptions that are based on market conditions and risks existing at each balance sheet date. For the majority of financial instruments, including most derivatives, long-term investments and long-term debt, standard market conventions and techniques such as discounted cash flow analysis, option pricing models, replacement cost and termination cost are used to determine fair value. Dealer quotes are used for the remaining financial instruments.

All methods of assessing fair value result in a general approximation of value, and such value may never actually be realized.

Cash equivalents

All highly liquid investments with maturities of three months or less at the date of purchase are considered to be cash equivalents.

Marketable securities

Debt securities included in Current assets represent securities that are expected to be realized in cash within one year of the balance sheet date. Long-term debt securities that are not expected to be realized in cash within one year and alliance equity securities that are within the scope of SFAS No. 115, “Accounting for Certain Investments in Debt and Equity Securities,” are included in Investments and sundry assets. Those securities are considered available for sale and are reported at fair value with unrealized gains and losses, net of applicable taxes, recorded in Accumulated gains and (losses) not affecting retained earnings within Stockholders’ equity. Realized gains and losses are calculated based on the specific identification method. Other-than-temporary declines in market value from original cost are charged to Other (income) and expense in the period in which the loss occurs. In determining whether an other-than-temporary decline in the market value has occurred, the company considers the duration that, and extent to which, fair value of the investment is below its cost. Realized gains and losses also are included in Other (income) and expense in the Consolidated Statement of Earnings.

Inventories

Raw materials, work in process and finished goods are stated at the lower of average cost or market. In accordance with SFAS No. 95, “Statement of Cash Flows,” cash flows related to the sale of inventories are reflected in Net cash provided by operating activities from continuing operations in the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows.

Allowance for uncollectible receivables

Trade

An allowance for uncollectible trade receivables is estimated based on a combination of write-off history, aging analysis and any specific, known troubled accounts.

Financing

Financing receivables include sales-type leases, direct financing leases and loans. The methodologies that the company uses to calculate both its specific and its unallocated reserves, which are applied consistently to its different portfolios are as follows:

Specific—The company reviews all financing account receivables considered at risk on a quarterly basis. The review primarily consists of an analysis based upon current information available about the client, such as financial statements, news reports and published credit ratings, as well as the current economic environment, collateral net of repossession cost and prior collection history. For loans that are collateral dependent, impairment is measured using the fair value of the collateral when foreclosure is probable. Using this information, the company determines the expected cash flow for the receivable and calculates a recommended estimate of the potential loss and the probability of loss. For those accounts in which the loss is probable, the company records a specific reserve.

Unallocated— The company records an unallocated reserve that is calculated by applying a reserve rate to its different portfolios, excluding accounts that have been specifically reserved. This reserve rate is based upon credit rating, probability of default, term, asset characteristics and loss history.

Receivable losses are charged against the allowance when management believes the uncollectibility of the receivable is confirmed. Subsequent recoveries, if any, are credited to the allowance.

Certain receivables for which the company recorded specific reserves may also be placed on non-accrual status. Non-accrual assets are those receivables (impaired loans or non-performing leases) with specific reserves and other accounts for which it is likely that the company will be unable to collect all amounts due according to original terms of the lease or loan agreement. Income recognition is discontinued on these receivables. Cash collections are first applied as a reduction to principal outstanding. Any cash received in excess of principal payments outstanding is recognized as interest income. Receivables may be removed from non-accrual status, if appropriate, based upon changes in client circumstances.

Estimated residual values of lease assets

The recorded residual values of the company’s lease assets are estimated at the inception of the lease to be the expected fair value of the assets at the end of the lease term. The company periodically reassesses the realizable value of its lease residual values. Any anticipated increases in specific future residual values are not recognized before realization through remarketing efforts. Anticipated decreases in specific future residual values that are considered to be other-than-temporary are recognized immediately upon identification and are recorded as an adjustment to the residual-value estimate. For sales-type and direct financing leases, this reduction lowers the recorded net investment and is recognized as a loss charged to financing income in the period in which the estimate is changed, as well as an adjustment to unearned income to reduce future-period financing income.

Common stock

Common stock refers to the $.20 par value capital stock as designated in the company’s Certificate of Incorporation. Treasury stock is accounted for using the cost method. When treasury stock is reissued, the value is computed and recorded using a weighted-average basis.

Earnings per share of common stock

Earnings per share of common stock—basic is computed by dividing Net income by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding for the period. Earnings per share of common stock, assuming dilution, reflects the maximum potential dilution that could occur if securities or other contracts to issue common stock were exercised or converted into common stock and would then share in the Net income of the company. See note R, “Earnings Per Share of Common Stock” for additional information.

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