Even Larry Ellison's ego can't pull Oracle(Nasdaq: ORCL) out of a technology slump that the company says is the worst in 27 years. Spending on high-end databases and enterprise software hasn't improved yet, and the company's unclear about when it will.

The company's been looking for its bottom for several quarters now, with the continued hope that each upcoming quarter will get better. That hasn't happened yet, and whether or not the company's first-quarter results, announced late yesterday, will signify that turnaround is an open question.

Its revenues dropped in its first quarter from $2.24 billion to $2.03 billion. Sales of new software licenses, an important measure of the company's strength, declined 23% for the quarter to $549 million.

Net income sagged 33% to $342.7 million, or $0.06 a share. Included in that number is a loss of $80.6 million from Oracle's investments in other companies, primarily Liberate Technology. Liberate's stock has nose-dived 85% this year. No one's immune to poor investment choices!

Oracle continued to keep costs in check, though. Operating expenses dropped by about 5% to $1.45 billion. The company reduced its workforce during the quarter by about 600. It may eliminate another 600 in its second quarter, if necessary. The software developer has managed to keep its results from deteriorating even further over the last year by becoming more efficient, which is perhaps the only sort-of-good news in the midst of its continued difficulties.

Oracle said it expects its second quarter to be even weaker, with sales 4% to 7% below last year's levels. Beyond that, the company doesn't know what to expect, and neither should shareholders.