First, the old news: Last week, educational infrastructure specialist Blackboard (NASDAQ:BBBB) issued revenue guidance for fiscal year 2006, basically reaffirming the $170 million target set in the last earnings report.

Now to the new news: Yesterday, Blackboard decided to update its forecast, kicking full-year revenues up to the $173 million to $176 million range and revising GAAP earnings projections from a loss of $0.54 to $0.50 per share on a GAAP basis to a loss of $0.47 to $0.43 per share. Excluding items like stock option grants and some taxes, that's a bottom-line boost from a non-GAAP profit of $0.08-$0.13 per share to a loftier $0.15-$0.19.

While I can appreciate the company's willingness to keep us all up to date, I'm not so sure that we're entirely up to speed yet. Blackboard, a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation, has a history of setting up goals and knocking them down, delivering better-than-expected results each of the last five quarters. The analyst community's estimates have traditionally been tracking close to the official estimates, and we should see them updating their numbers to match this new info. And yet I think the new expectations will remain too low.

The company is knee-deep in integrating former competitor WebCT, which it acquired last quarter. A smoother-than-expected merger process accounts for part of the improved outlook, and I just can't resist sharing a couple of sentences from the guidance report:

Blackboard is benefiting from broad-based demand for its products and services. In addition, driven largely by similarities in the respective businesses, the integration of WebCT is tracking ahead of schedule. The Company has identified best practices and is leveraging key synergies for the benefit of the combined organization.

Somebody has clearly been reading up on buzzwords. But despite the hype-heavy press releases and continual, seemingly planned underpromising, there's still the overdelivery habit to applaud, and the market in which Blackboard operates is growing short on competition.

Among its closest competitors, SkillSoft (NASDAQ:SKIL) hasn't really grown revenues since 2004, eCollege (NASDAQ:ECLG) and vCampus (NASDAQ:VCMP) don't even come close to Blackboard's excellent margins and returns on investment, and SumTotal (NASDAQ:SUMT) is too small to pose much of a threat. Eight-hundred-pound gorilla Thomson (NYSE:TOC) does present a challenge, but any healthy market should have a couple of strong players just to keep the competitive juices flowing. Think of Blackboard as the nimble AMD to Thomson's slower-moving Intel, and you'll get pretty close to how I see Blackboard's chances.

Further Foolish Reading:

Blackboard is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. A free trial will let you find out why the stock is up more than 40% since it was recommended just 12 months ago.

Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns none of the stocks discussed here. He's got the Foolish disclosure policy memorized thanks to all-nighters and lots of strong coffee.