Ah, earnings season -- those four times each year when investors get to kick the tires of their holdings and check out any prospective investments. The market both richly rewards those that pass the test and shuns those that fail to make the grade.

Suffice to say, it's a crazy time of year. And although we here at the Fool don't believe in investing quarter to quarter, each earnings season does provide some much-needed information for investors. In that vein, here's what you can expect from your some of the highest-profile names in the tech sphere as they report over the coming weeks.

Source: Standard & Poor's.

Analysts expect generally improving performance from IT firms. They see year-over-year earnings growing by 15.4%, a pretty impressive performance if it comes to fruition. The Street also expects improvement over Q2 for the industry, but just at a 0.5% rate, given the current conditions in the U.S. and abroad. Here's an earnings calendar for 20 of the biggest names in the sector.

Company Name

Expected Reporting Date

Expected EPS

Year-Ago EPS

Reported EPS Last Quarter

% Surprise Last Quarter

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Oct. 13 $8.74 $7.64 $8.74 11.3%
IBM (NYSE: IBM) Oct. 17 $3.21 $2.82 $3.09 2%
VMware (NYSE: VMW) Oct. 17 $0.50 $0.39 $0.55 17%
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) Oct. 18 $7.20 $4.64 $7.79 33.6%
EMC (NYSE: EMC) Oct. 18 $0.37 $0.30 $0.35 2.9%
Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) Oct. 18 $0.61 $0.52 $0.54 5.9%
eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) Oct. 19 $0.48 $0.40 $0.48 4.3%
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Oct. 20 $0.68 $0.62 $0.69 19%
Nokia (NYSE: NOK) Oct. 20 ($0.01) $0.14 $0.09 200%
Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) Oct. 21 $0.83 $0.45 $0.72 9.1%
Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) Oct. 24 $0.57 $0.71 $0.56 5.7%
Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) Oct. 24 $0.94 $0.70 $1.26 13.5%
Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) Oct. 25 $0.24 $0.51 $0.41 17.1%
ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH) Oct. 25 $0.13 $0.10 $0.14 16.7%
Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) Oct. 25 $0.76 $0.74 $0.72 14.3%
Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) Nov. 3 $0.78 $0.68 $0.73 2.8%
Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) Nov. 4 $0.03 $0.12 $0.10 100%
Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) Nov. 11 $0.39 $0.42 $0.40 5.3%
Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) Nov. 16 $0.31 $0.32 $0.30 0%
Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) Nov. 17 $0.47 $0.45 $0.54 10.2%
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) Nov. 22 $1.13 $1.33 $1.10 0.9%

Sources: Yahoo! Finance and S&P Capital IQ.

Across the board, it looks as if analysts expect year-over-year earnings to still be on the up and up -- although all's not rosy across the board for these 20 companies. Analysts anticipate quarter-to-quarter decreases for growth behemoths such as Apple, Netflix, and Amazon. Overall, they expect falling sequential earnings in eight of the companies here. However, that can be an indication of the state of affairs with the individual company -- Nokia, for instance -- as much as with the economy. IT earnings have grown by leaps and bounds since weathering the worst of the Great Recession, but with concerns over the dimming American recovery, expect the market to scrutinize this quarter's results pretty closely.

In investing, the best informed often enjoy the best results, so make sure to check back with The Fool to keep tabs on all the important earnings and investing related news. And if you want another great investing idea, The Motley Fool recently complied a free report detailing "The Only Stock You Need to Profit From the NEW Technology Revolution." It's completely free for our readers.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.