International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has launched several initiatives recently, some with visible but no promising aspects. None of these have convinced the markets the company can reverse its shocking downward trend in both revenue and stock price. Over the past three months, IBM shares have plunged another 10%, a continuation of a longer trend.
IBM is known for serial press releases that come at the rate of several a week. Many of them have no relevance to the company as a whole, which means that they detract from really important information, which is buried in the unnecessary string of promotions.
Most recently IBM promoted its “Edge Up Sports Drafts IBM Watson to Help Build a Championship Fantasy Football Team” and “IBM, Hootsuite Team to Advance Cloud, Social Integration.” Hootsuite is a very modest-sized company in the social networking arena.
IBM’s most substantial new enterprise, which is a Linux-based server product, demonstrates that the company can be nimble as it enters new markets, but Wall Street believes that the actions are too few and not nimble enough.
Wall Street also continues to suffer from the hangover of IBM’s last earnings release, as well as an opinion that the company cannot be turned around in its present configuration and may be better in parts than as a whole. Last quarter, revenue dropped 13% to $20.8 billion. Net income fell 16% to $3.5 billion. Revenue dropped across all major segments of its business. But that is old news.
What would not be old news is any important IBM initiative that would show the company has made major progress in at least one of its businesses, and it has not even hinted at that. IBM continues to push the notion that it will become an ever bigger player in cloud computing. The business is growing rapidly for IBM, but there is no evidence that it is growing faster than the same businesses at companies like rival Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). IBM will need to release revolutionary products or a pricing system that will fundamentally alter the global cloud business.
Yet, IBM, known for decades as a company that could alter the foundation of the technology sector, has done none of that recently, and that will not change.