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What: Shares of TIBCO Software (UNKNOWN:TIBX.DL) tanked hard today, down by as much as 23%, after the company gave a sneak peak of its fourth quarter results.

So what: The company released preliminary figures on what it expects in the fourth quarter, with revenue predicted in the range of $292 million to $295 million. Non-GAAP earnings per share should be either $0.37 or $0.38. Those results are well short of the $316 million in sales and $0.44 per share profit that the market was expecting.

Now what: CEO Vivek Ranadive said that the company fell short this quarter, while noting it's had 17 consecutive quarters of solid results. Some of the weakness was attributed to reductions in government spending as well as deal delays related to Hurricane Sandy. The official earnings release will come on Dec. 20, and full year adjusted earnings are expected in the range of $1.10 to $1.11.

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Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Tibco Software. 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.