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.

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.

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.

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.

Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of and creating a diagonal call position in Adobe Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.