Microsoft is the highest ranked company in a Booz analysis of the best-performing global IT providers (Photo: Microsoft)

Software providers and internet companies are the best performers in the global information and communication technology sector, according to a new study.

An analysis of the world's 50 biggest ICT companies by consultants Booz & Company found that software providers such as Microsoft, Oracle and SAP and internet companies such as Google were realizing sales growth of more than 10 pc and earnings margins of more than 25 pc.

Offshore IT service providers such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro also performed well. And a few global hardware and infrastructure providers such as HP and Cisco ranked among the top performers in the ICT sector.

At the same time, the Booz analysis found that regionally oriented IT service providers and telecommunications companies are struggling.

The Booz consultants looked at four factors in their ranking of the global ICT top 50: Financial health, portfolio offering and structure, innovation and sales orientation.

The study cited in particular Apple and Google, which it called "over-the-top" providers of IT services. These companies, the study said, are aggressively crossing conventional sector boundaries, thereby eroding the market positions of established companies. Booz noted new business models and offers that include Cloud services, tablet PCs and digital content and services.

"In the current ICT environment, everything is up for grabs," said Booz partner Olaf Acker.

The study found that IT service providers are moving away from a philosophy that gives prominence to IT services and system integration and plays down the importance of including a hardware component.

"In our view," said Booz partner Ramez Shehadi, " providers have particularly good prospects where they are able to provide an integrated solutions ecosystem around a strong hardware or software core offering that comes with tailored services and content."

The top 10 in the Booz analysis are: Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, HP, Cisco, Apple, SAP, Xerox, Accenture and CSC.