The services boon that IBM has clung to during the recession looked a little weatherworn in first quarter numbers rolled out last night, as unfavourable currency translations impacted revenue growth rates.
Sales for the three months ended 31 March were up 5% to $22.9bn or flat when adjusting for foreign exchange conversions as profits climbed 13% to $2.6bn.
"Just in currency alone if you look at the 90-day change in spot rates, in a quarter, that alone has impacted revenue growth by about $1.5-2bn," said Mark Loughridge, IBM CFO.
When currency translations were factored into IBM's results, revenues in the Americas were flat at $9.5bn, fell 2% in EMEA to $7.6bn and grew 1% in Asia Pacific to $5.3bn.
Divisionally, Global Technology Services (GTS) revenues were flat at $9.3bn and signings were up 1% in actual rates. Global Business Services (GBS) reported flat sales at $4.4bn.
Loughridge said it had seen improvements in GTS and GBS signings growth in the past 12 months and a return to growth in Consulting contracts which gave it "momentum going forward".
He expected "our services business to return to modest growth in the second quarter."
The Software business fared a little better, as sales grew 11% to $5bn and Systems and Technology revenues climbed 5% to $3.4bn.
Power Systems revenues fell 17% on the same period a year ago as storage grew 11% and System x soared 36% including 55% growth in blades. System z revenues dropped 17%.
Global Financing revenues fell 7.1% to $537m.