This may be a bad time for most of the economy, but not for the technology industry. Quarterly reports came out last week, and Apple, IBM and Microsoft’s numbers all blew past estimates.

IBM reported an 8% increase in its net income, which was US$3.7 billion. The company also reported $26.7 billion in revenue, which was up 12% from last year.

How is IBM doing so well in this tough economy? Al Hilwa, programming director at IDC, said, “IBM is focused on the enterprise, which gives it steady and predictable contracts, which generally give it revenue stability.”

Businesses always need the most recent technology and software, especially in a time when the economy is suffering. IBM’s software business is the fastest-growing and the most profitable of its three businesses.

Apple’s revenue grew by 82% in the last quarter, which Hilwa said is “an absurd number for a company of its size.” The company reported quarterly revenue of $28.57 billion and quarterly net income of $7.31 billion. This is compared to the same quarter a year ago’s revenue of $13.50 billion.

According to Hilwa, Apple’s success is due to the software in its devices. He also said that the design and engineering of its devices is a key asset as well.

Microsoft also beat expectations and put out strong numbers for its 4th quarter. Microsoft had quarterly net income of $5.87 billion, a 30% increase. Microsoft’s revenue of $17.37 billion was up 8.3% from the same period last year. The company reported revenue of $69.94 billion for the year, a 12% increase over the previous year.

Hilwa also said that a huge difference between Apple and Microsoft is that Microsoft derives a majority of its sales from businesses, where it plays across the entire software stack. Apple, in contrast, is seen as a consumer-focused company.

Where Microsoft is hurting, though, is on the consumer side. Apple’s influence on consumer electronics has put Microsoft at a disadvantage, with Microsoft now struggling to keep up with Apple, said Hilwa.

“I see Windows 8 as being a pivotal release for Microsoft to bring its PC ecosystem to the tablet space,” he said.