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Management discussion
International Business Machines Corporation and Subsidiary Companies

Consolidated fourth-quarter results

($ and shares in millions except per share amounts)
For the fourth quarter: 2008 2007 Yr.-to-Yr. Percent/
Margin Change

* (1.0) percent adjusted for currency.

NM — Not meaningful

Revenue $27,006 $28,866 (6.4)%*
Gross profit margin 47.9% 44.9% 3.0 pts.
Total expense and other income $7,127 $7,481 (4.7)%
Total expense and other income-to-revenue ratio 26.4% 25.9% 0.5 pts.
Income from continuing operations before income taxes $5,808 $5,489 5.8%
Provision for income taxes 1,382 1,537 (10.1)%
Income from continuing operations 4,427 3,951 12.0%
Income from discontinued operations 1 NM
Net income $4,427 $3,952 12.0%
Net income margin 16.4% 13.7% 2.7 pts.
Earnings per share of common stock:      
Assuming dilution:      
Continuing operations $3.28 $2.80 17.1%
Discontinued operations 0.00 NM
Total $3.28 $2.80 17.1%
Weighted-average shares outstanding:      
Assuming dilution 1,347.9 1,412.9 (4.6)%

Continuing operations

In the fourth quarter, in an increasingly challenging economic environment, the company delivered solid financial results. Total revenue decreased 6.4 percent as reported, 1.0 percent adjusted for currency, versus the fourth quarter of 2007. Gross margin improved 3.0 points driven by margin expansion in Global Services and Software. This improvement in gross margin coupled with focused expense management drove an improvement year to year in pre-tax income of 5.8 percent. A lower tax rate versus the prior year, primarily driven by the utilization of tax credits, resulted in a 12.0 percent increase in net income. Diluted earning per share of $3.28 increased 17.1 percent year to year.

Fourth quarter revenue performance was impacted by currency and the changing economic environment, but the modest decline of 1.0 percent adjusted for currency reflects the company’s broad business capabilities and contribution from the annuity content of the business model. Adjusted for currency, revenue performance was led by growth in the Software and Global Services segments offset by a decline in Systems and Technology.

The Global Services segments combined had $14,333 million of revenue in the fourth quarter, a decrease of 4.0 percent (increase of 2 percent adjusted for currency) and delivered pre-tax profit of $2,177 million, an increase of 32.1 percent year to year. The services business performed exceptionally well in the current economic environment through disciplined execution on resource optimization and improved operating efficiencies, while at the same time delivering services with a high level of quality and customer satisfaction. Total signings for Global Services in the fourth quarter were $17,207 million, a decrease of 5 percent (increase of 2 percent adjusted for currency) versus the fourth quarter of 2007. Signings in the quarter included 24 deals larger than $100 million. Long-term signings of $9,900 million decreased 3 percent (increased 3 percent adjusted for currency) with a 20 percent growth in Strategic Outsourcing signings. Short-term signings decreased 7 percent (1 percent adjusted for currency) to $7,307 million, compared to a very strong fourth quarter of 2007.

GTS revenue of $9,623 million decreased 3.7 percent (increased 3 percent adjusted for currency) versus the fourth quarter of 2007. GTS signings of $11,045 million decreased 2 percent (increased 4 percent adjusted for currency) with long-term signings increasing 4 percent (9 percent adjusted for currency) to $8,221 million, offset by a 15 percent decrease (7 percent adjusted for currency) in short-term signings. SO revenue decreased 3.2 percent (increased 3 percent adjusted for currency). SO signings increased 20 percent (23 percent adjusted for currency) led by strong signings in the U.S. and Europe as clients turn to outsourcing’s value proposition as an effective way to attain their financial objectives in this economic climate. ITS revenue increased 0.2 percent (6 percent adjusted for currency). ITS signings decreased 15 percent (7 percent adjusted for currency), although signings in the key infrastructure offerings continued to be good. BTO revenue decreased 19.0 percent (11 percent adjusted for currency) and signings decreased 53 percent (44 percent adjusted for currency). GTS gross profit increased 11.8 percent in the quarter and the gross margin improved 4.8 points with margin expansion in all lines of business. The GTS segment fourth-quarter pre-tax profit was up 35.5 percent and the margin improved 4.1 points to 14.4 percent from fourth-quarter 2007. This was the sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit pre-tax profit growth in GTS. The margin improvement was driven primarily by a delivery structure that maximizes utilization and flexibility, a mix to higher value offerings, lower total managed labor costs and a global skills mix that efficiently moves resources to opportunities.

GBS revenue of $4,709 million decreased 4.5 percent (flat adjusted for currency) compared to fourth-quarter 2007. In the current economy, offerings that deliver cost savings continued to drive the majority of business, although demand for transformational and compliance offerings also increased. GBS signings of $6,162 million, decreased 9 percent (3 percent adjusted for currency), driven by a 25 percent decline (16 percent adjusted for currency) in long-term signings. Short-term signings of $4,483 million decreased 1 percent (increased 4 percent adjusted for currency) in the quarter. Cost savings offerings accounted for the majority of the new signings. GBS gross profit increased 18.5 percent in the quarter with the gross margin improving 5.6 points. The GBS segment pre-tax profit increased 26.0 percent in the quarter and the margin expanded 3.6 points to 14.9 percent. The margin performance reflects a strong operating discipline and the benefits of a globally integrated operating model. Despite slower revenue growth, utilization improved year to year resulting from resource optimization throughout the globally integrated capacity model as well as effective balancing of domestic, global and subcontracted resources. GBS also benefited from continued deal selectivity, stable pricing, lower managed labor costs and ongoing operational efficiencies.

Software segment revenue of $6,420 million, increased 2.6 percent (9 percent adjusted for currency), driven by solid sales execution and growth in mission critical production software. Customers continue to utilize infrastructure software in their production environments to optimize their data centers. Many large customers signed multi-year deals in the fourth quarter demonstrating continued commitment to the company’s technology. Revenue growth was led by Americas with an increase of 13 percent, adjusted for currency. Revenue from Key Branded Middleware increased 6.2 percent (13 percent adjusted for currency) and represented 61 percent of total software revenue. Revenue from the WebSphere Family of products declined 0.9 percent (increased 5 percent adjusted for currency) in the quarter. Information Management revenue increased 17.9 percent (25 percent adjusted for currency) driven by contribution from Cognos as well as organic growth. Revenue from Distributed Relational Database products increased over 30 percent, adjusted for currency. Lotus revenue decreased 0.5 percent (increased 6 percent adjusted for currency) capitalizing on the strong performance of collaboration software. Tivoli software revenue decreased 3.8 percent (increased 4 percent adjusted for currency). Rational revenue decreased 1.3 percent (increased 5 percent adjusted for currency) compared to a strong fourth-quarter 2007 with revenue performance led by Telelogic.

Software gross profit increased 3.3 percent with margin improvement of 0.6 points. The Software segment delivered pre-tax profit of $2,789 million, an increase of 14.6 percent. The pre-tax margin of 39.1 percent increased 4.2 points compared to fourth-quarter 2007. The large annuity base in the software business continues to provide a predictable and growing stream of profit and cash.

Systems and Technology segment revenue was $5,425 million, a decrease of 20.2 percent (16 percent adjusted for currency), reflecting growth in high-end servers offset by a decline in x86 and storage products. System z revenue decreased 5.9 percent (increased 1 percent adjusted for currency). Adjusted for currency, revenue performance was led by double-digit growth in the Americas and strong growth in the Financial Services and Industrial sectors globally. System z continues to perform well due to its ability to consolidate multiple workloads onto a single, virtualized platform. System z MIPS shipments increased 12 percent year to year. This was the fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit MIPS growth. Converged System p revenue grew 8.0 percent (14 percent adjusted for currency), driven by strong growth in both high-end and midrange servers. This was the tenth consecutive quarter of revenue growth for converged System p. System x revenue decreased 33.0 percent (29 percent adjusted for currency) reflecting a significant slowdown in the industry-standard x86 market as customers are virtualizing and consolidating workloads onto more efficient platforms such as POWER and mainframe. System x server revenue declined 32 percent (28 percent adjusted for currency) with blades down 27 percent (23 percent adjusted for currency). Legacy System i revenue decreased 91.6 percent (91 percent adjusted for currency) as the company continues to transition the System i customer base to the converged POWER platform within System p. Systems Storage revenue decreased 19.9 percent (16 percent adjusted for currency) driven by revenue declines in total disk and total tape products. Retail Store Solutions revenue decreased 27.8 percent (22 percent adjusted for currency) and Microelectronics OEM revenue declined 34.3 percent.

Systems and Technology gross margin of 39.9 percent, declined 5.8 points versus the fourth quarter of 2007 driven by margin declines in all system brands and Microelectronics OEM; partially offsetting these margin declines was a revenue mix benefit due to a shift in revenue toward System z and converged System p. Systems and Technology segment pre-tax profit decreased 47.1 percent to $722 million. Pre-tax margin declined 6.7 points to 12.7 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2007.

Global Financing revenue of $660 million decreased 1.3 percent (increased 5 percent adjusted for currency). Increased financing revenue was more than offset by a decline in sales of used equipment.

Geographic revenue decreased 5.6 percent (flat adjusted for currency) with mixed performance by geography. Adjusted for currency, Americas had the strongest performance with Europe and Asia both declining year to year. Globally, revenue in the major markets decreased 5.3 percent (1 percent adjusted for currency) while revenue from the company’s growth markets organization decreased 7.1 percent (increased 6 percent adjusted for currency). Americas revenue was $11,454 million, a decrease of 1.9 percent (increase of 2 percent adjusted for currency). Adjusted for currency, Latin America was up 12 percent, Canada was up 6 percent and the U.S. was flat. EMEA revenue decreased 12.2 percent (1 percent adjusted for currency) to $9,468 million. Revenue performance in the major countries was mixed when adjusted for currency, with Germany up 7 percent, the U.K. up 4 percent, France grew 2 percent while Italy declined 8 percent. Asia Pacific revenue decreased 0.7 percent (1 percent adjusted for currency) to $5,469 million, with growth in the India, Australia/New Zealand, and South Korea regions, being more than offset by declining revenue in Japan. The company has been investing heavily in the emerging markets to capture opportunities to build out public and private infrastructures. Additionally, these markets benefited in the quarter from customer demand for cost saving offerings during the current economic environment. Revenue from these markets represented 18 percent of the company’s geographic revenue in the quarter and increased 6 percent, adjusted for currency. The BRIC countries, a subset of the growth markets, together grew 1.6 percent (13 percent adjusted for currency) led by double-digit growth in Brazil and India, adjusted for currency. Russia revenue was significantly impacted by credit limitations and declined 22 percent in the fourth quarter.

Revenue from the company’s industry sales units decreased 5.7 percent (flat adjusted for currency) in the fourth quarter of 2008. Public sector revenue decreased 0.8 percent (increased 5 percent adjusted for currency) with strength in government and with education returning to growth, when adjusted for currency. In the growth markets, clients are investing in education as a way to develop national skill sets. Industrial sector revenue decreased 8.0 percent (5 percent adjusted for currency) as concerns with the credit markets and margin pressures continued. Financial Services sector revenue declined 5.8 percent (1 percent adjusted for currency) and was in line with the company’s overall performance for the fifth consecutive quarter. The U.S. financial services sector revenue was up 4 percent and improved significantly from the third quarter. Growth was driven by banking and financial markets reflecting strong performance in software, System z and POWER products. Partially offsetting the U.S. growth was weakness in Japan and Europe as the economic climate worsened. Revenue from small and medium business clients declined 8.6 percent (3 percent adjusted for currency) although services signings in this customer set increased 10 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2007.

Total expense and other income decreased 4.7 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2007. The decrease was driven by approximately 8 points due to the effects of currency, partially offset by 6 points due to the impact of acquisitions with the remainder attributed to lower operational expenses. The company continues to focus on structural changes that reduce spending and improve productivity. Within selling, general and administrative expense, workforce reduction charges increased approximately $380 million in the fourth quarter, reflecting workforce actions in Japan and other ongoing skills rebalancing. Other (income) and expense was $97 million of income, a decrease of 1.5 percent compared to fourth-quarter 2007. Interest income was down approximately $120 million reflecting the current interest rate environment. While the effects of foreign currency transaction losses also negatively impacted other (income) and expense in the fourth quarter, they were partially offset by a benefit from the impact of the company’s hedging programs, which was a gain in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to a loss in the prior year.

The company’s effective tax rate in the fourth-quarter 2008 was 23.8 percent compared with 28.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007. The 4.2 point decrease in the fourth-quarter 2008 tax rate was primarily attributable to the net effect of several items in the quarter. In 2008, the fourth-quarter tax rate was favorably impacted by the net increase in the utilization of foreign and state tax credits as well as the retroactive reinstatement of the U.S. research tax credit in the fourth quarter of 2008. These benefits were partially offset by the net tax cost related to the completion of the U.S. federal income tax examination for the years 2004 and 2005 including the associated income tax reserve redeterminations.

Share repurchases totaled $604 million in the fourth quarter. The weighted-average number of diluted common shares outstanding in the fourth quarter of 2008 was 1,347.9 million compared with 1,412.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.

The company ended the quarter with $12,741 million of cash and cash equivalents and generated $6,621 million in cash flow provided by operating activities driven primarily by net income. Net cash from investing activities was a use of cash of $880 million in fourth quarter of 2008 versus a source of cash of $1,098 million in the fourth quarter of 2007, resulting primarily from the disposition of higher levels of short-term marketable securities in 2007.

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