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Your nickname may be Big Blue, but that doesn't mean you don't have to sing the blues.
IBM (NYSE: IBM ) proved it tonight with yet another terrific report. With adjusted fourth-quarter earnings of $4.71 per share on $29.5 billion in sales, the vertically integrated tech giant roughly met the Street's revenue targets while surpassing the earnings consensus by 2%.
Newly appointed CEO Ginny Rometty explained that the quarter rested on "outstanding results" in all four of the company's big, bold growth initiatives. Fellow Fool Tim Beyers wanted to see a deep discussion of Big Blue's Smarter Planet program, and we did get a little bit of that. Smarter Planet as a whole kept up its 50% year-over-year sales growth, thanks in large part to the Smarter Commerce piece. That program helps companies do business with customers, suppliers, and one another; "We’re not just addressing an existing market, we’re actually making markets," said CFO Mark Loughridge.
The company keeps growing its market share in Unix systems at the expense of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) and Sun Microsystems owner Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL ) , both of whom seem intent on copying IBM's blueprint. And Tim will also be happy to hear that the backlog of IT service orders grew again to $141 billion. Yes, that's billion with a "B" -- roughly five quarters' worth of total IBM revenue. Must be nice to have that deep of a pool of guaranteed orders to fall back on in case times get tough.
So Ginny takes the helm of a remarkably fresh-looking 100-year-old tech giant. Looking ahead, management feels confident of achieving $20 of earnings per share in 2015 -- up from $13.44 in 2011 -- and plan to get there by staying nimble. You won't find these guys singing the blues as long as they keep that forward-looking mentality.
Among many other growth drivers, IBM is a big name in data mining and business intelligence. Learn all about this excitingly investable trend in a special report prepared by The Fool's finest analysts. It's free to Fools but won't be around forever, so grab your copy now.