US computer giant IBM last night reported a first-quarter net profit slightly better than forecast, but revenue fell short of expectations.

IBM, which has weathered the global economic slowdown better than most major US corporations, said that net profit declined 1% in the first quarter compared with the same quarter last year to $2.29 billion.

Revenue fell by 11% to $21.7 billion in the months from January to March, below the $22.5 billion expected by analysts.

Earnings per share were $1.70, up from $1.64 a share in the same quarter last year and better than the $1.66 a share expected by analysts.

IBM maintained its full-year 2009 earnings target of at least $9.20 a share and president, chairman and CEO Samuel Palmisano said it was 'ahead of pace for our 2010 roadmap of $10-11 a share'.

'IBM continued to perform well in a very difficult economic environment,' he said in a statement. 'This was due to our long-term strategic focus: shifting into software and services, divesting of commodity businesses, and creating solutions that help clients reduce cost and conserve capital,' he added.

IBM said revenue fell across all of its business units - from software to systems to business and technology services during the quarter - and around the world.

First-quarter revenue for the Americas fell 7% to $9.3 billion while revenue from Europe, the Middle East and Africa was down 18% at $7.2 billion, it said. Revenue from the Asia-Pacific decreased 6% to $4.8 billion.

Palmisano, speaking on the same day that US business software giant Oracle swooped in and grabbed IBM acquisition target Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion, indicated that other takeover attempts could be in the offing.