Results Roundup: Google, IBM, AMD and more
The economy might be struggling, but top IT firms like Nokia, AMD and Sony Ericsson aren't losing as much as expected, while IBM and Google hold steady.
The economic turbulence is taking its toll on the IT sector, but it's not all falling apart, according to quarterly results from several leading tech firms.
Nokia, the world's leading handset maker, said that weakening demand knocked its sales and profits. The firm's sales slid five per cent in the third quarter compared to last year, while earnings-per-share fell from 0.40 last year to 0.29 this quarter.
Despite this, Nokia and financial analysts remain optimistic. "There will be sequential and year-on-year growth in the fourth quarter but more muted, somewhat less than in the previous years," Nokia chief financial officer Rick Simonson said in an interview.
"That is a reflection that some markets have slowed. They will have a little slower Christmas but I don't think it was cancelled," Simonson said.
While AMD posted a loss, it did beat expectations which is enough for results to be seen as positive these days. The chip maker's shares jumped 10 per cent after it posted a loss of $67 million, which isn't bad compared to the loss of 396 million it posted the same time last year. AMD trails market-leader Intel, but recently announced it would split into two companies, one that will focus on chip design and the other on chip manufacturing.
Sony Ericsson also managed to improve confidence without boosting its own coffers. The troubled handset maker's quarterly loss of 23 million was less than the expected 71 million, but analysts still seem to think the business is on shaky ground and with two profit warnings before the banks fell over, it's no surprise. For more on Sony Ericsson's fall, click here to read our feature.
Some companies managed to post positive results, however. Computacenter, the British hardware and services firm, reported a six per cent rise in revenue, but said sales were essentially flat, at just two per cent. Computacenter said there was "much uncertainty" in the market, but added its last two quarters had been encouraging.
IBM also saw higher quarterly profit. Hardware sales fell, but services and software helped keep things on the positive side, letting the massive tech firm top analysts' expectations.
While hardware sales fell 10 per cent to $4.4 billion, the revenue from the services division jumped eight per cent to $14.8 billion and its software arm climbed 12 per cent to $5.2 billion. Overall, revenue was up five per cent to $25.3 billion.
Thankfully, when the IT sector needs some good news, there's always Google. The web giant not only had a visit from the Queen this week, but surpassed expectations on its quarterly forecasts, pushing its shares up 10 per cent. For the quarter, revenue was up to $5.54 billion, up just three per cent from last quarter, but 31 per cent from the same quarter last year.
Google's chief executive Eric Schmidt admitted the search giant was wary about the effects cuts in advertising could have on his business, however. "We are all in uncharted territory," he said of the economy.
Google was praised by analysts for its efforts to manage costs, but still added 500 new employees to its staff of 20,000.
Additional reporting from Reuters.
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