In my forecast of last night's earnings report from Brocade (NASDAQ:BRCD), I wondered aloud whether management still thought it was pulling away from the competition. As it turns out, management doesn't think so. CEO Michael Klayko stopped short of that claim when he said that he believes Brocade is "well positioned competitively and our leadership position is unchanged."

On the other hand, pro forma net margin came in above expectations, at 15.1%. That's a clear improvement over last year and a good sign going forward.

Brocade is riding high with a stable of powerful helpers. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), IBM (NYSE:IBM), and EMC (NYSE:EMC) each make up more than 10% of the storage networking specialist's revenues, quarter after quarter, through their original equipment manufacturing installation partnerships. These are some of the biggest names in data storage, and considering how well each of these companies is doing right now, it's a good time to have them pushing your product.

Of course, that's hardly an exhaustive partner list. Other luminaries include Sun (NASDAQ:SUNW), Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), although their contributions to Brocade revenue fall below the 10% reporting threshold.

So Brocade is happy just to maintain its market position in a seasonally weak quarter. In fact, Klayko took the opportunity to kick a bit of sand in the face of competitors, saying, "Our market share remained flat in the face of our competitors' new product shipments and presumed pent-up demand for those new products." So when Brocade rolls out its own product updates later in the year, we should see fireworks across the sky, right?

Further Foolishness:

Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick; so is Dell, which is also a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. He believes in coyotes and time as an abstract. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is a richly woven tapestry of trust, care, and a deep love for tiramisu.