"We are in such a negative/bearish environment and it seems like all the economic news, including individual company earnings news, is bad these days. But it's always worth noting the exceptions to the rule and thinking about why that is.
Yesterday IBM announced it's fourth quarter earnings and it's net income was up 12% over the fourth quarter of 2007. Revenues were down slightly as hardware was down 20% and higher margin software and services were up a similar amount. But most interesting was IBM's move to increase the expectations for earnings in 2009 and 2010. IBM said that the company 'was ahead of pace to increase earnings to $10 to $11/share by 2010'.
What's going on at IBM is an ongoing transition from a hardware oriented business to a software and services business which is driving margins up combined with a still healthy book of business from its clients all over the world combined with an ongoing ability to reduce costs and become more efficient."
So I'm thinking that the real competition is IBM. Now that they have done the deal with Ricoh in the form of InfoPrint, they are moving into our space, faster and faster.