Adobe Systems (Nasdaq: ADBE) reported earnings on Dec. 15. Here's what you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 2 (Q4), Adobe Systems beat expectations on revenues and beat them on EPS. Gross margins widened, operating margins improved, and net margins shrank.

Revenue
Adobe Systems booked revenue of $1.2 billion. The 23 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ looked for net sales of $1.1 billion.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.

EPS
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.67. The 25 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ anticipated $0.60 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $0.35 for Q4 were 33% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.53 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margins
For the quarter, gross margin was 89.9%, 50 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 29.6%, 90 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 15.1%, 1,160 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods.

Looking ahead
What does the future hold?

Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $1 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is for $0.57. (There are 22 revenue estimates and 24 EPS estimates.)

For the full year ending 2012, the average estimate for revenue is $4.4 billion. The average EPS estimate is $2.43. (There are 26 revenue estimates and 28 EPS estimates.)

Investor sentiment
The stock has a three-star rating out of five at Motley Fool CAPS, with 1,857 members out of 1,975 rating the stock outperform and 118 members rating it underperform. Among 514 CAPS All-Star picks, 486 give Adobe Systems a green thumbs-up, and 28 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Adobe Systems is outperform, with an average price target of $31.19.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.