IBM Turns to Software

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) is trying to transform itself again, as Chief Executive Samuel J. Palmisano races to stay ahead of the technology industry’s fast-changing profit curve.

The top priority this time for Big Blue–which famously dumped its personal computer business in 2004 to focus on consulting and services—is software. Mr. Palmisano wants that high-margin business to account for about half of the company’s pretax profit by 2015, up from just over a third in 2003.

In particular, Mr. Palmisano wants to sell programs that help clients sort through the mountains of data being generated by the growing number of transactions and record keeping that have moved to electronic form.

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