IBM reports results: Middleware is up, while Lotus is middling

Jack Vaughan

IBM announced last week that Q4/'04 income was $3.1 billion compared with $2.7 billion for the previous year, an increase of 12 percent. Revenues from IBM's middleware brands, including WebSphere, DB2, Rational, Tivoli and Lotus products, were $3.7 billion, up 8 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2003.

In presenting IBM results, Mark Loughridge, senior vice president and CFO, noted that Lotus software was up 2 percent for the quarter. Meanwhile, revenues for the WebSphere application server software line increased a dramatic18 percent. Parts of Lotus collaborative software now are offered as part of the WebSphere line.

Lotus was not an exceptional performer for IBM over the last few years. That is expected to change for a group that IBM's Loughridge described as "in the midst of a product transition."

In prepared remarks, Loughridge said: "We believe that our Lotus Notes family of products exited the year gaining momentum." Looking forward, Loughridge, pointed to early positive reaction to the new Java-based Lotus Workplace product.

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