IBM Q4 Earnings Beat Predictions with $6.1 Billion Profit

January 22, 2013

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

Mark Loughridge, IBM’s (News - Alert) chief financial officer, kicked off the tech giant’s fourth quarter earnings call on Tuesday with good news for investors: the Armonk, N.Y.-based company reported net income of $6.1 billion for the fourth quarter. Earnings per share were $5.39, while sales hit $29.3 billion.

Thomson (News - Alert) Reuters surveyed Wall Street analysts that expected IBM would post earnings of $5.25 a share on $29.1 billion in revenue. Shares rose 3.6 percent in after-hours trading, according to CNN.

Fourth-quarter net income was $5.8 billion compared with $5.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of 6 percent. Operating (non-GAAP) net income was $6.1 billion compared with $5.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of 10 percent.

Total revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012 of $29.3 billion decreased 1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011. Without the impact of the divested Retail Store Solutions (RSS) business, revenue increased one percent, adjusting for currency.

Last year, IBM set records for profit, earnings per share and free cash flow, according to Ginni Rometty chairman, president and CEO of IBM.

“Our performance in the fourth quarter and for the full year was driven by our strategic growth initiatives – growth markets, analytics, cloud computing, Smarter Planet solutions – which support our continued shift to higher-value businesses,� Rometty said in a statement.

IBM raised its outlook for 2013 expecting to deliver full-year 2013 GAAP earnings per share of at least $15.53; and operating (non-GAAP) earnings per share of at least $16.70.

“Looking ahead, we continue to invest to deliver innovations for the enterprise in key areas such as big data, mobile solutions, social business and security, while expanding into new markets and reaching new clients,� Rometty said. “We are well on track toward our long-term roadmap for operating EPS of at least $20 in 2015.�

Net income for the year ending Dec. 31, 2012 was $16.6 billion compared with $15.9 billion in the prior year, an increase of 5 percent. Operating (non-GAAP) net income was $17.6 billion compared with $16.3 billion in 2011, an increase of eight percent.

North America led IBM’s growth for the fourth quarter, with revenues of $12.5 billion, flat from the 2011 period. Revenues from Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) were $9.1 billion, down three percent, adjusting for currency. Asia-Pacific revenues increased five percent $7 billion. OEM revenues were $679 million, down five percent compared with the 2011 fourth quarter.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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Steve Jobs’ Widow Laurene Powell Jobs Launches

January 22, 2013

By Colleen Lynch, TMCnet Contributor

Though Steve Jobs (News - Alert) has passed, his legacy remains--as does his widow Laurene Powell Jobs, who has dreams of her own. Powell Jobs has always been a philanthropist, and now she has become an advocate for the Dream Act, along with filmmaker Davis Guggenheim.

On Tuesday, Guggenheim--of “Waiting for Superman� and “An Inconvenient Truth� fame--launched a website with Powell Jobs to push for passage of certain provisions in the Dream act.

The website is, and will work toward passing the federal bill, first introduced in the Senate in 2001. The Dream Act gives illegal immigrants known as DREAMers, brought to the United States as children, a pathway to permanent residency in the U.S. “They’re our children’s friends. They are people we know,� said Powell Jobs. “This is a huge national problem that needs resolution.�

The website is a platform for DREAMers to share their stories, as a way “to put a face to these people,� said Powell Jobs, to personify the many anonymous suffering what Powell Jobs and others feel are significant injustices.

“There needed to be a demystification,� added Powell Jobs, and a way “to hear the individual stories.�

One such story is of a young woman known as Cendy, who spoke to the public via webcam, and is featured on the site. “All my siblings are documented except me,� said Cendy. “I know I have a lot of potential, but that I might not get there because my status will hold me back.�

She is one of millions of illegal immigrants, teachers, relatives and friends of young DREAMers encouraged to submit videos and posts to site, which Guggenheim will incorporate into a new documentary film on the issue. She described making the video as “a little scary at first, but the benefit of coming out, not being afraid anymore, got a lot of weight off my shoulders.�

In a statement to Yahoo News, Guggenheim said, “These DREAMers are putting everything on the line. When they come out like this, they are saying ‘I’m ready to risk it all for what I believe.’� Guggenheim hopes the website initiative will become “a living, breathing petition� in both online and documentary form, with the help of Powell Jobs, and others including President Barack Hussein Obama and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants and rising star of the GOP.

Powell Jobs described Rubio’s latest discussion on granting expedited status to young immigrants as “reasonable and principled,� but added that she felt “the key is to see the legislation once it’s written.�

The Dream Act would legalize young persons under the age of 30 who entered the United States before they were 15 years of age, and have lived in the country continuously for five years or more. The only other qualifications included would be proof that the person has not had a criminal record, and that they will enlist in the military or attend at least two years of college.

Some versions also include a high-school degree.

The closest the Dream Act has come to passing was in December of 2010, when it passed in the House but fell short of 5 votes in the Senate. Powell Jobs and Guggenheim hope that will put the fire under the President’s feet, as well as both Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate.

Those who choose to upload videos to the site will likely face no legal backlash or deportation due to Obama’s deferred action directive, but there is a danger of potential job-loss if the people are identified and shown to have no work permits.

However, the risk could most certainly be worth the reward, and many young people like Cendy feel it is their duty to participate in initiatives like, and Powell Jobs and Guggenheim are giving them the platform they need to do make their voices heard and their faces known. 

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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Google Reports Great Earnings, Challenges Remain

Google (News - Alert) reported revenues and earnings above consensus estimates for its last quarter after the market close today. Revenues rose 39% to $11.3 billion and net income rose by 6.6% to $2.89 billion. Judging by the after-hours reaction, sending the shares up by some 5%, the street seems quite happy with the numbers.

Story continues below ↓

The question now is whether this upward momentum will continue for the search behemoth. There exist two factors that may collar Google's growth to some degree. One is the search engine competition, specially from Bing, owned my Microsoft (News - Alert). Yes, Bing is still alive and doing relatively well and is showing some signs of success with the latest expanded integration of Facebook into its mix of search results. Of course Facebook (News - Alert) (and other social networks) are cutting into Google's dominant position as well.

The second factor is the ever increasing users' reliance on mobile platforms in favor of desktops. Desktops continue to show much better conversion rates  compared to mobile advertising. There are a number of reasons for that but one is that Web browsers are perhaps the most used applications on desktops, while people use a variety of apps on smartphones. Another reason would be the lack of sufficient real-estate on smartphone surfaces. Other reasons include unwitting user clicks on ads on smartphones and lack of user trust in ordering products or services from smartphone, both of which deter advertiser from establishing large presence on the mobile market.

For now however no one should count Google out. This is an innovative and competitive company capable of bold moves and quick executions. Chances are the parade of good earnings from Google will continue to roll well into the future.

Polycom RealPresence Video Collaboration Solutions Integrate with IMB Applications

January 22, 2013

By Robbie Pleasant, TMCnet Contributor

If you’re going to IBM Connect 2013, be sure to keep an eye out for Polycom (News - Alert). The company will be demonstrating how Polycom RealPresence video collaboration solutions can integrate with IBM (News - Alert) social business applications such as Sametime and Connections to provide an improved social business experience.

Polycom will be presenting at a few sessions, discussing social business and how it must become a visual medium to make enterprise collaboration its best, as well as how Polycom RealPresence video solutions can do just that while integrating with IBM social business applications.

Furthermore, Polycom will be showcasing the integrated social video collaboration solutions, made by powering IBM Sametime and Connections with the RealPresence Platform. With it, SameTime and Connections users can connect in video calls across any environment, from immersive video suites to smartphones. Among the demonstrations are the Polycom RealPresence Mobile 2.0 (News - Alert) software application for Apple iOS and Android devices, and the Polycom RealPresence Group series.

IBM Connect 2013 will be held from January 27-31, at the Walt Disney (News - Alert) World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Florida. The sessions hosted by Polycom are the “Using the Power of Video to Make Social Business Visual� Birds of a Feather Session, held from 6:15-7:15 PM on Monday, January 28; and the “Social Communications: A Roadmap to Connecting Sametime with Everything� Breakout Session, held from 5:50-6:30 PM on Wendesday the 30th.

Polycom’s solutions are excellent tools for communication and collaboration, and by integrating them with IBM applications, one can get a great video communication experience for multi-party or point-to-point video calls. Polycom has the experience that many can stand to learn from, so the opportunity to attend its sessions should not be passed up on lightly.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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Why Companies Need to Take a Hard Stance on Distracted Driving

We all know distracted driving is on the rise, shouldn’t be done and has the potential to be lethal. Yet how many times have you, or someone you’ve seen, read a text message, placed a call or used an app while behind the wheel?

Indeed, an estimated one million people a day chat on their mobile phones or send text messages while driving, according to, making distracted driving the No. 1 safety concern of the driving public. We’re certainly more connected to and dependent upon our smartphones than ever before. How can this alarming, and deadly, trend be curbed?

State governments have tried banning texting while driving and requiring hands-free headsets. But if we’re going to take putting an end to distracted driving seriously — which we need to (see stats below) — it needs to start with business, too.

Are Businesses Encouraging Distracted Driving?

In this age of digital mobility, we’ve come to expect immediate responses anywhere, anytime. We’ve armed our employees with mobile tools and the expectation that they can now work wherever they are. People now literally work on the road.

Are companies indirectly encouraging distracted driving? Think about the times you’ve been in the car and e-mailed work to say you’re running late, hopped on a conference call during the morning commute, or texted a colleague a quick question. You’re not the only one doing this — or the only one whose life is being put in jeopardy.

The other concern – and risk — to companies, is that in many cases, drivers are being armed with mobile devices from their employers. Even if the device isn’t company-owned, there’s a good chance they’re still using their personal phone for work-related tasks. And there’s a good chance they’re on their way to work: 84 percent of American city residents drive or carpool to the office, with an average commute time of 25.1 minutes.

Indeed, companies are being held liable in court: There have now been several multimillion-dollar cases against employers involving employee distracted driving.

Think of it this way, too: A large majority of drivers are employees, among other things. Companies have a responsibility toward the well-being of their employees. We offer employees health benefits, sick leave and vacation time, and screen applicants for drug and substance use. So why wouldn’t a company promote smart driving habits that could drastically decrease the chance of injury or death, just as it encourages healthy eating and exercising habits? 

Enforce A Strict Company Policy

The problem, though, is that people don’t listen. The technology that truly allows for a driver to keep his hands on the wheel and eyes on the road is also not there yet. Voice-activated systems like Ford Sync have made progress, but are still far from being reliable enough to draft and check e-mails and texts. Apple’s Siri often gets requests wrong or needs assistance. And heads-free sets still distract drivers: In May a jury awarded $21 million to a plaintiff who was struck by a Coca-Cola Company employee who was using a hands-free device — in line with company policy.

What companies – and perhaps state governments – need to do is take a hard stance against distract driving. President Obama issued an executive order in September 2009 prohibiting federal employees from texting while driving on government business or with government equipment. The private sector needs to similarly establish these types of rules.

Prohibit taking work calls, texts or e-mails while driving – and make it a real point of concern. For instance, some companies play a recording at the beginning of conference calls that tells attendees that if they’re driving, to hang up, stop the car and rejoin once it’s safe.

Establish rules and disciplinary measure for breaking them, and constantly communicate, explain and promote your policy. It is, after all, all of our lives on the line.

Distracted Driving By the Numbers

  • About every 24 seconds there is a car crash in the U.S. that involves drivers using cell phones and texting
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
  • 75 percent of U.S. drivers ages 18 to 29 reported that they talked on their cell phone while driving at least once in the past 30 days, and nearly 40 percent reported that they talk on their cell phone “regularlyâ€� or “fairly oftenâ€� while driving.
  • 52 percent of U.S. drivers ages 18-29 reported texting or e-mailing while driving at least once in the last 30 days, and more than a quarter report texting or e-mailing “regularlyâ€� or “fairly oftenâ€� while driving.

Interested in hearing more about distracted driving? Read the full blog post from Bzur on his Chief Mobility Officer blog.

As president and CEO of Visage, Bzur Haun leads all facets of the business, including strategy and operations. Read more about the latest in mobility intelligence on Chief Mobility Officer:

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

Really Simple Systems Extends Free Edition CRM

January 21, 2013

Really Simple Systems, a U.K. vendor of cloud CRM systems, is including mobile CRM and integration to Kashflow accounting as part of its Free Edition CRM solution.

The company said these features, which are currently chargeable, will now be included in Free Edition, allowing customers to get more from their CRM system.

Free Edition is a free version of the vendor’s flagship product that gives users the software and hosting for a two-user sales system free of charge, forever.

“As cloud systems continue to go mainstream, and vendors as well as customers reap the benefits of economies of scale, we expect prices to continue to fall for commodity systems like accounting and CRM, as well as office and email systems,� said John Paterson, CEO, Really Simple Systems, in a statement.

“We are very excited to be offering these new features as part of our Free Edition. We’d rather get customers using these features and our CRM than ‘penny pinch’ them for small amounts,� said Paterson.

He said cloud computing offers customers a radical new way to buy sophisticated applications at a low cost.

Paterson said by making the CRM really easy to use, Really Simple Systems can deliver CRM without the expense of a high touch sales and support process, passing this saving to the customer.

Back in February 2012, Freightgate announced that Oceanstar Express selected Freightgate's Supply Chain Solutions Cloud Platform to enhance its transportation services, with advanced n-dimensional routing for secure fast execution, event management and to improve collaboration with its customers.

Freightgate was the early pioneer for cloud computing and mobile applications within the logistics industry. Freightgate solutions support all supply chain management transportation functions from procurement, through rate management, optimization, execution and visibility to invoice audit & pay.

Freightgate's Supply Chain Solutions Cloud Platform enables global shippers, forwarders and carriers to share global logistics information seamlessly on a single common transportation sourcing platform for informed decision-making across the entire network.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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Yet Another SpeedCast Buyout: This time it’s Elektrikom in Europe

Following the acquisition of Australian Satellite Communications (ASC) by SpeedCast (News - Alert) last month, the company has once again shown its intentions of serving a truly global customer base. With the goal of delivering customized solutions to meet customer needs, SpeedCast, an icon in global network and satellite communications, has completed the acquisition of Elektrikom Satellite Services. The combination of these two units now makes SpeedCast Group one of the top maritime satellite communications service providers in the world.

Elektrikom provides satellite and wireless-based communications solutions to the high-end segments of the maritime industry, including oil & gas offshore supply segments. Elektrikom is well-known as an expert in its field and in its ability to deliver custom-engineered communication solutions to its list of customers, which includes major shipping companies and offshore supply companies.

SpeedCast is well-established as a maritime communications solutions entity in Asia. Its extensive support resources are strategically located in Singapore, Indonesia, China, Dubai, Australia, Hong Kong and Australia.

According to the CEO of SpeedCast, Pierre-Jean Beylier, the acquisition of Elektrikom was a move intended to strengthen SpeedCast’s position in Europe. Elektrikom was an ideal fit due to its strength in the region and its existing worldwide satellite communications infrastructure. Elektrikom has a Rotterdam base, which will help to further penetrate the European market. In addition, SpeedCast intends to deliver continuity of experience for Elektrikom’s existing customers while complementing its existing network by adding an overlay network for redundancy and backup together with introducing new options for its global customer base.

According to the managing director of Elektrikom, Andre Eerland, the acquisition is a positive development for customers, partners and employees. He said that there are “significant synergies between the two companies, with two leading technology platforms, iDirect (News - Alert) and Comtech EF Data, and worldwide coverage, which will greatly enhance our ability to deliver customized solutions to meet our customers’ needs.� Eerland now becomes the Head of Maritime globally.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

Can the US Have Gigabit Internet in all 50 States by 2015?

Gigabit Internet all over the U.S.? Is that even possible? The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski (News - Alert), says it is. At the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., he said all 50 states should have at least one community where consumers can get 1 Gbps or faster Internet access by 2015. He calls this forward push the "Gigabit City Challenge." If his wishes come true, the United States might actually pull the reins behind its poor ranking in Internet speed among other countries of the world -- South Korea currently holds first place. The United States, by contrast, is behind countries like the Czech Republic and Latvia.

"The U.S. needs a critical mass of gigabit communities nationwide so that innovators can develop next-generation applications and services that will drive economic growth and global competitiveness," said Genachowski. In the FCC press release, he showed particular admiration to Google's (News - Alert) fiber product and the company's aspiration to drive up the speed of Internet while maintaining an affordable cost. Currently, people using Google Fiber can download and upload at 1 gigabit per second for a minimum price of $70 a month. Others with less ambition can opt for the free package, which gives them 5 Mbits downstream and 1 Mbit upstream bandwidth for no monthly cost, save for the initial $300 construction fee.

The problem is that Genachowski doesn't have a clear plan to back up his bold words. He said the FCC (News - Alert) will hold workshops in communities that have gigabit connectivity, discussing the problems of high-speed implementation with broadband providers. Along with that, the FCC intends to create an online clearinghouse where broadband providers will be able to learn best practices in raising bandwidth while lowering costs.

But is it a realistic goal to have gigabit Internet access in all 50 states? And is this a prelude to another package of government mandates on an already-struggling economy? Only time can tell as more news about fiber networks comes along!

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

Sonetel Dials in a Successful Formula in 2013

Swedish start-up Sonetel has taken the world by storm with its globally marketed telephony service. Sonetel’s services have reached more than 109,000 companies across 233 countries by offering cheap local phone numbers worldwide, which are up to 95 percent cheaper mobile calls internationally. 

According to a report, connecting Sonetel’s phone switch to an existing mobile phone company or an IP telephony  “allows entrepreneurs to open ‘virtual offices’ anywhere for as little as $0.99 per month. Calls can be answered in any country with a mobile, laptop etc.� Also, calls between internal employees are free worldwide. The global business phone system allows for free voice and video calls on incoming and outgoing calls between the business and its customers. 

Sonetel has revolutionized business communications with its cloud-based phone system, and global enterprises are starting to take notice. International business can be complicated, and Sonetel offers a way to get rid of the boundaries, giving access to anyone that may need it—even those in the small business market. 

Companies get redirected phone numbers so their rates stay lower. A Pakistani business centered in London can easily reroute the message to a mobile in Pakistan and keep costs down without all the international rates that typically apply to long-distance coverage plans. Getting local numbers for virtually anywhere on the planet where staff or customers are is made easy.

Sonetel knows a thing or two about keeping costs low, and passing on those savings directly to the consumers. Rod Ullens, CEO of Voxbone and strategic partner for Sonetel, merits its 1045-percent revenue growth from 2011 to 2012 to its “unique� and “passionate� business strategy that offers excellent “prices below basic consumer services.�

Marketed primarily at entrepreneurs and global business enthusiasts, Sonetel’s application for the well-traveled opportunist comes at a great time.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey