Enterprise Software Falls Short

Yet again, enterprise software players are issuing second-quarter warnings. Wasn't the sector's weakness supposed to be short-term?

Much of the bad news came last Friday. Borland (Nasdaq: BORL  ) fell 11.79% to $5.91; Siebel (Nasdaq: SEBL  ) declined 2.28% to $8.59; and Altiris (Nasdaq: ATRS  ) dropped 12.39% to $13.01.

Borland announced expected second-quarter revenues between $65 million to $67 million, well below the Street's $71 million consensus. The company expects a net loss of $0.01 to $0.03 per share, compared to the market's estimate of a $0.01 net profit.

Borland blamed its woes on weaker information technology (IT) spending. Several of its deals failed to close by the quarter's end.

But Borland's problems may be deeper. On Friday, the company announced the resignation of its CEO after six years at the helm. Borland's core business -- developing sophisticated programming tools for enterprises -- faces intense competition, especially from IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) .

Then there's Siebel, which sacked its CEO about three months ago (because of, well, a bad quarterly performance). The company is a leader in customer relationship management (CRM) applications.

Siebel also blamed its results on customers delaying orders. The company targeted revenues of $330 million for the second quarter but now expects $312 million to $314 million. While Wall Street expected $0.02 to $0.03 in earnings per share, the company can't even come up with a new earnings estimate.

Siebel is feeling the pain from competition such as Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM  ) . What's more, it appears SAP (NYSE: SAP  ) will launch its own hosted CRM product.

Altiris fared no better, citing its own delays of large second-quarter transactions. The company pegs revenues at $45 million to $46 million, down from its previous estimate of $50 million to $53 million. Earnings are expected to land between $0.06 and $0.07 per share, a hefty difference from the Street's $0.19 estimate.

The company, which develops IT management solutions, has relied heavily on partnership agreements, especially with Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) . Unfortunately, it seems the HP deal is quickly losing steam.

The outlook for enterprise players is bleak. Customers are more resistant and competition is fierce. Unless a company has the scale needed to buy growth with cash and stock, the sector should be a laggard for some time to come.

Enterprising related Foolishness:

Fool contributor Tom Taulli does not own shares mentioned in this article.


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