IBM's top-level executives will forego their annual bonuses in the wake of slipping profit margins in the firm's end-of-year financial results. Big Blue's hardware business saw a significant drop, while its software business continued on an upwards trend, rounding off a mixed year for the company.
In 2013, IBM posted profits of $48.5bn, down 3.6 percent from its 2012 figures of $50.2bn. Total sales in 2013 hit $99.7bn, 4.6 percent shy of the previous year's $104.5bn.
The company's hardware business suffered in particular: in the final quarter of the year its Systems and Technology division saw a revenue drop of 26 percent when compared with the same period in 2012. Its System z mainframe products were particularly hard hit, seeing a 37 percent fall in revenues and bucking the trend of the previous two quarters in which high-end hardware saw gains.
IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty said that while her firm overall saw fairly solid results, she had decided that it would be advisable for the company's senior executives to skip their end-of-year bonuses.
"We continued to drive strong results across much of our portfolio and again grew earnings per share in 2013. While we made solid progress in businesses that are powering our future, in view of the company's overall full-year results, my senior team and I have recommended that we forego our personal annual incentive payments for 2013," she said.
"As we enter 2014, we will continue to transform our business and invest aggressively in the areas that will drive growth and higher value."
The company's software business continued to make gains, with its middleware products – including WebSphere, Information Management, Tivoli, Social Workforce Solutions and Rational – seeing five percent revenue gains.
Developing countries Brazil, Russia, India and China saw an overall revenue decline of 11 percent.
IBM has announced that it is to heavily invest in data centres, committing $1.2bn to new infrastructure around the globe. The firm has also begun to turn its famous Watson supercomputer into a marketable product, starting a business unit for the artificial intelligence-backed machines.
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