|Tim Cook, Apple's CEO|
IBM ( IBM) was another tech bellwether on deck this week, and Big Blue missed Wall Street's revenue estimate in its third-quarter results on Monday. The Dow component's earnings, however, beat analysts' expectations. The tech bellwether brought in revenue of $26.16 billion, up from $24.3 billion in the same period last year, but below analysts' forecast of $26.25 billion. Excluding items, IBM earned $3.28 a share, up from $2.85 in the prior year's quarter. Analysts had predicted earnings of $3.22 a share. While IBM's software and services businesses continued to enjoy strong growth, its hardware sales were less robust during the quarter, growing just 1% when adjusted for the effects of currency. Investors, clearly shaken by the revenue miss, pushed IBM's shares southward following the results. The tech giant's stock ended the week at $181.63, off 4.7%
Microsoft ( MSFT) posted an in-line quarterly profit on Thursday as robust business PC sales picked up the consumer's slack. The software giant said it earned $5.74 billion, or 68 cents a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30 on revenue of $17.37 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 68 cents per share and revenue of $17.25 billion in the quarter. Sales of business PCs grew 5% to 35 million units during the quarter as corporations continued to upgrade to Windows 7, while consumer PCs -- impacted by weakness in netbook sales -- were flat. The performance reflected larger trends in the global PC market. Worldwide PC shipments grew 3.2% last quarter, which was lower than expected because of increased competition from lower-priced tablets and smartphones, according to recent data from Gartner. Emerging markets like China are an increasingly important source of growth for Microsoft's PC business, and the company said it expects this region to outpace developed markets. Microsoft also has high hopes for Skype, the Internet telephony company it acquired earlier this year for $8.5 billion. Shares of Microsoft closed Friday at $27.16, down 0.4% for the week.
Verizon ( VZ) delivered a penny beat in its latest quarter on Friday, posting an adjusted profit of $1.6 billion, or 56 cents a share, on revenue of $27.91 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Verizon to earn 55 cents a share on revenue of $27.88 billion. Verizon Wireless added 1.3 million total connections in the third quarter, including 882,000 retail postpaid customers, which was lower than analysts' estimates of 1.04 billion. In its wireless division, Verizon said services revenue was $15 billion, up 6.1% from a year earlier, while data revenue rose 20.5%. Verizon said retail postpaid average revenue per user, or ARPU, grew 2.4% over last year's third quarter to $54.89. The No. 1 telco, like its archrival AT&T ( T), felt the impact of Apple's decision not to launch its new iPhone during the quarter, but analysts weren't all that worried for the most part. "Consistency continues for Verizon," explained Jennifer Fritzsche, an analyst at Wells Fargo, shrugging off the iPhone delay, as well as the storm and strike issues that weighed on Verizon's wireline division. "While there were some one-time impacts affecting both sides of this business, we believe Verizon's third-quarter results show many solid trends and illustrate its strong wireless leadership in an increasingly competitive market." The stock closed the week at $37.42, up 9 cents for the week.
The other big news in tech on Friday came from Groupon, the online discount deal purveyor, which laid out scaled-back plans for its eventual IPO. The company said it will seek to sell 30 million shares at $16 to $18 a share. At the top of that range, Groupon would raise $540 million, nearly 30% less than the $750 million the company was originally seeking. The company is expected to launch its roadshow next week.
Tech earnings season rumbles on next week, with Broadcom ( BRCM) and F5 Networks ( FFIV) reporting on Tuesday. Symantec ( SYMC) and BMC Software ( BMC) post quarterly numbers the following day. Chip giant AMD ( AMD) reports its third-quarter results after market close on Thursday, while Electronic Arts ( ERTS) reports its second-quarter numbers on the same day. In gadget news, Nokia ( NOK) kicks off its Nokia World 2011 event in London on Wednesday. -- Written by James Rogers in New York. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org