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Loughridge did highlight some positive aspects of IBM's third quarter. Revenue from business analytics products and services were up 14 percent year over year while revenue from the company's "smarter planet" initiative grew more than 20 percent. And revenue from cloud-related sales and services through the fiscal year's first three quarters has exceeded cloud–related sales for all of fiscal 2011.
Sales of hardware products from IBM's Systems and Technology operations were $3.9 billion, down 13 percent year over year. While that decline was only 11 percent when the Retail Store Solutions divestiture was factored in, System z mainframe sales were down 20 percent, System x sales declined 5 percent and Power Systems sales dropped 2 percent. Revenue from System Storage products was off 10 percent year over year.
Despite the slower hardware sales, Loughridge said IBM "continued [its] success in competitive takeouts" against rivals Hewlett-Packard and Oracle Sun, replacing hardware from those vendors in more than 260 locations with IBM products valued at $200 million. Last week, IBM debuted additions to its PureSystems line of converged infrastructure servers.
Revenue from software sales in the quarter were $5.8 billion, down 1 percent from one year earlier. Sales of the vendor's Tivoli line of IT management software increased 5 percent and sales of WebSphere middleware grew 2 percent. But revenue from Information Management software was down 1 percent, Lotus collaboration software sales dropped 10 percent and revenue from Rational development software declined 16 percent.
Revenue from IBM's services operations also declined in the third quarter. Global Technology Services revenue was $9.9 billion, down 4 percent from one year earlier. Global Business Services revenue was $4.5 billion, down 6 percent from one year ago.