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IBM Kicks Off First Quarter With Strong Results

IBM (NYSE:IBM) is starting off 2011 on a strong note.

Big Blue reported first quarter fiscal 2011 revenues today of $24.6 billion, for an 8 percent year-over-year increase. Net Income was also on the rise, coming in at $2.9 billion, up by 10 percent on a year-over-year basis. Earnings Per Share (EPS) were reported at $2.41.

IBM's first quarter financial results exceeded Wall Street expectations for revenue of $24 billion with an EPS of $2.30.

"We delivered a strong first quarter with revenue growth across hardware, software and services and with more than 40 countries growing in double digits," Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer said in a statement. "We continued to see excellent momentum in our growth initiatives - smarter planet, cloud, business analytics, and growth markets - which bring together the full value of the IBM portfolio."

Palmisano is so upbeat on his company that he is also raising the full 2011 operating EPS expectations to at least $13.15. IBM had previously forecast full fiscal 2011 EPS to come in at $13.

"We achieved broad-based margin improvement, while our cash flow and strong financial position enabled us to continue to return value to our shareholders," Palmisano said.

Growth for IBM is coming in a number of key areas. IBM reported that its cloud revenue is now 5 times more than the first-quarter 2010 revenue.

Hardware revenues are also on the rise. First quarter revenues from IBM's Systems and Technology unit hit $4.0 billion, a 16 percent year-over-year increase. In particular IBM's System z mainframe revenues grew by 41 percent compared to the first quarter of 2010.

IBM's middleware software business including WebSphere, Tivoli, Lotus and Rational products, was reported at $3.3 billion, a 16 percent year-over-year increase. In terms of operating systems, IBM reported revenues of $542 million, for a 9 percent increased compared to the first quarter of 2010.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.