Nonetheless, it's clear that Watson will feature prominently in IBM's long-term roadmap as the tech bellwether seeks out growth opportunities. During its recent fiscal third quarter, IBM's revenue was weighed down by weakness in parts of its hardware business and key emerging growth markets, prompting some unease on Wall Street.

During the third quarter, however, IBM broke down its cloud revenue for the first time, reporting that it increased more than 70% year to date and exceeded $1 billion during the quarter, including the SoftLayer acquisition.

Shares of IBM, which have slipped 3.1% over the last 12 months, are off 0.65% to $186.74 in Thursday trading.

 --Written by James Rogers in New York.

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