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MarketWatch First Take: IBM continues to promise a rosy future while reporting a stagnant present

IBM Corp., on the heels of its 21st consecutive quarter of declining revenue, is once again looking to the future for better news.

IBM has been making big investments in cognitive computing, artificial intelligence and cloud computing over the past few years, while talking boldly about how important its Watson AI platform is to its future. Yet a long-awaited revival in revenue from these “strategic imperatives” continues to be just around the corner.

On Tuesday, the tech giant beat earnings expectations, but only because results were buoyed by a tax gain of 18 cents per share. IBM’s IBM, +0.65% overall revenue fell 5% to $19.3 billion, below analysts’ average expectations, though IBM predictably pointed to growth in its “strategic imperatives,” which grew 11%, including growth in cloud computing, and made up 43% of IBM’s total revenue of $19.3 billion in the second quarter.

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