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EMC story updated with CEO Joe Tucci's comments on Apple and IT spending.

HOPKINTON, Mass. (

TheStreet

) -- Storage maker

EMC

(EMC)

posted record first-quarter revenue and profit before the market opened on Wednesday, meeting Wall Street's estimates and continuing the tech sector's run of strong earnings.

EMC, which reported its results in the wake of

strong numbers

from

IBM

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,

Intel

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and

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VMware

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, brought in consolidated revenue of $4.6 billion, an increase of 18% on the prior year's quarter, and just above analysts' estimate of $4.5 billion.

On a GAAP basis, the company registered record net income of $477.1 million, a 28% hike over the first quarter of 2010.

Excluding items, EMC earned 31 cents a share on net income of $700.4 million, increases of 19% and 27%, respectively, on the same period last year. The company's earnings were in line with Wall Street's estimates.

Investors responded positively to the numbers, pushing EMC's shares up 45 cents, or 1.68%, to $27.17 in pre-market trading.

EMC's results, though, were not completely out of the blue. The company's virtualization subsidiary VMware laid the foundations for strong numbers with stellar

first-quarter results

, released after the market close Tuesday.

EMC, which is

rumored

to be helping

Apple

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build out its cloud strategy, grew revenue from its high-end Symmetrix systems 25% year over year, while sales of its mid-tier products climbed 20%.

Revenue from the firm's recently acquired Isilon technology, which is reportedly being used by Apple, "exceeded expectations" according to an EMC statement released before market open.

Joe Tucci, the EMC CEO, was asked about the reported Apple deal during a conference call to discuss the company's first-quarter results on Wednesday. "I don't want to comment on any specific customer wins without customer agreement," he said.

The CEO, however, added that EMC's Isilon products have been "very well received." The company expects to reach a $1 billion run rate for Isilon, combined with EMC's Atmos cloud products, in the second half of next year.

Tucci also talked IT spending during the call. "On balance, we still expect to see IT spending up this year in the 5% to 7% range, likely at the high end of that range," he said.

In a statement released before market close, EMC also said that its data computing division "continued to perform well" thanks to its Greenplum offerings that are aimed at "big data" warehousing and analytics.

Big data refers to large-volume,

loosely structured

data that could be generated in areas such as Web Search.

Speaking during the conference call, EMC's CFO David Goulden also discussed the potential effects of the recent Japanese earthquake on EMC's supply chain. "We have very solid relationships with our suppliers," he said. "We have determined that only a handful of suppliers have risk exposure -- at this time, we do not see any significant impact in Q2."

For fiscal 2011, EMC expects revenue of $19.6 billion, a shade below Wall Street's forecast of $19.65 billion. Excluding items the company is looking for 2011 earnings of $1.46 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had predicted earnings of $1.48 a share.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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