International Business Machs logo

International Business Machines, or IBM, is one of the world leaders in global technology development and solutions. They are invested in five market segments including global technology services, global business services, software, systems and technology and global financing. Until 2006, IBM was the number one information technology firm in the world. Hewlett-Packard surpassed IBM in sales in 2006 and continues to retain the number one spot for global sales.

IBM is the more profitable of the two businesses, however, with a gross profit listed at $43.8 billion for 2009. IBM’s global technology services division offers strategic planning and consulting to reduce business costs and improve profit margins. The global business services division offers consulting for human-capital management, software development, logistics management and maintenance solutions for businesses globally. IBM’s systems and technology division saw a serious decline in sales in 2009, with all major products produced by the division showing a decline. The software and global financing divisions also saw slightly smaller declines in 2009 due to global company downsizing across all markets.

International Business Machines was founded in 1911 and mainly produced and sold commercial scales and calculators. Over the years, IBM has developed into a global information technology powerhouse with only two main market competitors, Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Because both of those companies are still heavily invested in the personal computer hardware market, and IBM is more highly invested in the software and services market, IBM has the highest annual profit margin of the three companies. IBM has over 350,000 employees working in 170 different countries around the world and has posted 60% of its total annual revenue from sales outside the US market. The largest revenue is from the financial, small and medium sized business markets, though IBM does sell to companies in all markets around the world. Their stock prices fell sharply at the end of the 2008 fiscal year but IBM stock more steady increasing past the 2008 highs.

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