I love it when an underdog pulls a big coup. It's even more delicious when nobody seems to notice. Think of it as an early signal of successes to come, and you're free to invest on that new premise without the price premium that comes from the rest of the world doing the same thing.

That's where enterprise software midget Tibco (NASDAQ:TIBX) joins our narrative today. The company sold enough business intelligence and information management software in its fourth quarter to deliver record sales, earnings, and cash flows for the 2008 fiscal year. Sales in the quarter stayed steady at $186 million, same as last year, and GAAP income grew from $0.14 to $0.18 per share. While respectable in a tough sales environment, the numbers are hardly the coup I'm talking about.

Nope, it's the list of new customers that really impresses me. It's one thing to land clients in Tibco's traditional strike zone of financial, military, and health care stocks, but the one big name that outshines all the others is Mr. Softy of Redmond, Washington.

That's right -- the world's largest software company now uses Tibco products. While the nature of their relationship is unknown, I’m inclined to believe it involves more than a competitive licensing agreement. The fact that Tibco now decides to list Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) as a customer even though they’ve long been IT infrastructure rivals hints there could be a bona-fide business use in place. A potential relationship between the firms is additionally complex when you consider that Microsoft stands to lose SQL Server business if Tibco's database-light "information bus" concept catches on.

While such cross-pollination between major software vendors is hardly new, it's a serious feather in Tibco's hat to finally claim Microsoft as one of its own. The company has to beat out behemoths like IBM (NYSE:IBM), Microsoft itself, and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) for every customer it signs. Now, CEO Vivek Ranadive quite possibly can tell the next prospective customer that even Tibco's rivals are using its products.

And that, my friends, paves the road to larger, more lucrative, and just more contracts. Tibco is set for years of good business -- or a quick buyout.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.