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IBM reports increase in storage sales, says it took share

During its conference call to report fourth-quarter earnings last night, IBM reported its storage sales were up 1% year-over-year, in line with the cautious optimism about storage sales that has been growing over the last few months.

Specific product highlights in storage included Tivoli software and the XIV disk array. “Tivoli storage continued its robust growth as customers manage their rapidly growing storage data,” said CFO Mark Loughridge in prepared remarks on the earnings call. “Data Protection as well as Storage Management grew double-digits with broad- based geography and sector growth.”

Loughridge added later, “we added more than 130 new customers to our XIV platform in the fourth quarter and 400 since the acquisition.” IBM also claimed to have taken share in both the disk and tape markets, even though tape revenue declined 10% for the quarter.

Stifel Nicolaus Equity Research Aaron Rakers pointed out that the 1% year-on-year gain doesn’t tell the whole story. “This implies a sequential increase of [about] 55%, which compares to an average sequential increase of [about] 36% in [the fourth calendar quarter] over the prior 7 years,” Rakers wrote. “IBM estimates that it had gained [one percentage point] of share in the storage market during [the fourth calendar quarter of 2009].” Rakers compared this with his estimate that competitor EMC Corp.’s Information Infrastructure business grew 19% sequentially last quarter. EMC reports earnings results next Tuesday.

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