IBM's sales grew for the first time in 5 years

Microsoft and Adobe form cloud partnership
Microsoft and Adobe form cloud partnership

IBM has finally broken its years-long losing streak

After reporting sales declines for 22 consecutive quarters (about five and a half years), Big Blue finally posted revenue growth -- by a very slim margin. Sales grew 1% last quarter.

IBM said it expects sales growth to continue in this quarter and throughout 2018.

"We are pleased with our overall revenue growth in the quarter," said Ginni Rometty, IBM (IBM) chairman, president and chief executive officer, on Thursday.

IBM has struggled in the past few years because of a shift in the technology landscape. But its investment in the cloud and other more dynamic and rapidly growing areas of tech, has helped the company's performance.

Revenue from the company's cloud business grew by 27% in the fourth quarter. IBM's cloud unit represents more than a fifth of the company's total sales.

Related: IBM gets a boost from low taxes and cloud computing

"During 2017, we strengthened our position as the leading enterprise cloud provider and established IBM as the blockchain leader for business," Rometty said.

But one quarter of 1% growth wasn't enough to convince investors that IBM has succeeded in turning its fortune around. Shares were down by as much as 4% after the market closed on Thursday.

One major IBM investor has recently soured on the company. Warren Buffett said in May that he's ditched a third of his stock, explaining, "I don't value IBM the same way that I did six years ago when I started buying."

IBM also reported a one-time $5.5 billion hit from changes to the tax law, just like many major American companies. IBM is a multinational company, and it actually expects its effective tax rate to rise in 2018.

-- CNNMoney's Paul R. La Monica contributed reporting to this story.

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