Things are always surprisingly calm in the eye of a storm. And there's no mistaking the tempest brewing at Oracle
According to an International Data Corp. report, the company is losing market share in its flagship database-management software business to IBM
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
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.