Things are always surprisingly calm in the eye of a storm. And there's no mistaking the tempest brewing at Oracle(Nasdaq: ORCL).

According to an International Data Corp. report, the company is losing market share in its flagship database-management software business to IBM(NYSE: IBM) and Microsoft(Nasdaq: MSFT). Internally, the reshuffling of its sales force in January rocked Oracle. But it's been a perfect storm, as the company delivered on the bottom line by keeping its operating margins in check.

Last night, the world's second-largest software company posted earnings of $0.11 a share on revenue of $2.31 billion in its fiscal third quarter. Analysts were dead-on with the top-line target, but Oracle was able to squeeze another penny per share on the way down.

The stock opened significantly lower this morning on the news that software license revenue was off by 4% for the quarter, and that currency gains factored into market-besting profits. But the market seems to be missing an impressive achievement from Oracle. It was able to grow both revenue and earnings in a very difficult climate of moribund corporate spending on information technology. What's more, by maintaining operating margins of 34.5% -- steady with last year's showing -- it kept business humming along at a steady pace. Sure, IBM swiped some market share, but Big Blue suffered a dip in operating margins last quarter to get there. Oracle stayed true to its model.

An interesting nugget from last night's report was CEO Larry Ellison's shot at rival SAP(NYSE: SAP), when he noted that Oracle's suite of solutions is cheaper than SAP's and easier to implement. Anyone familiar with the brash and colorful Ellison knows he's not one to mince words. He loves to use the company's quarterly reports to bash the competition. However, Germany's SAP had mostly escaped his verbal lashings. As a matter of fact, two years ago, he predicted that SAP and Oracle would be the only two software companies left standing in the enterprise software space.

Why, this time, did Ellison single out SAP over stateside rivals IBM and Microsoft -- both easy targets in the past? Well, they're gaining on Oracle right now, and it's best not to draw any ire or send attention their way. Ellison's a shrewd, tactical bulldog. As Oracle CEO, he knows what's up.