IBM's Watson figures everywhere but the figures

Robert Cyran
Traders gather at the post that trades IBM on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Oct. 20, 2014.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Big Blue's investor day focused squarely on a big bet on artificial intelligence. Software that interprets floods of data is becoming the next big thing. The hard part will be making it profitable. Years of effort have yet to produce a real financial result or forecast from IBM.

Global spending on information technology will be $1.2 trillion this year, IBM reckons, and grow at the same rate as the global economy. Older obsolescent products will shrink while cutting-edge technologies rise. IBM's problem is that most of its revenue — at $82 billion last year — comes from ones in decline.