Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Macroeconomic Worries? Pffft. Oracle Beats the Street.

Software giant Oracle reported its first quarter with revenue north of $10 billion today, and slapped down worries that its results would be dragged down by troubles in the wider economy.

The company just reported earnings for its fourth fiscal quarter. Sales were $10.78 billion, slightly ahead of the $10.75 billion that had been the consensus of Wall Street analysts, and up 13 percent. Per-share profits were 75 cents, up 36 percent, and beating the consensus of 71 cents.

Revenue from new software licenses was up 19 percent to $3.7 billion. Software license updates and product support revenue was up 15 percent to $4 billion. Hardware sales were down 6 percent to $1.2 billion.

The weakness in hardware sales appeared to cause a sell-off of Oracle shares in after-hours trading. As of 4:26 New York time, shares were trading at $30.49, down more than $2, or more than 6 percent.

CEO Larry Ellison described the database software business as having its “fastest growth in a decade,” and that Oracle has been adding features to the software to exploit opportunities in cloud computing and big data.

Sales of Exadata machines — the ones that combine computers from the old Sun business with Oracle software — “made a strong contribution” in the quarter, president Mark Hurd said in a statement. He said that Oracle has sold 1,000 of the machines worldwide, and that the goal is to triple that number in the next fiscal year.

In a statement, CFO Safra Catz said that software license revenue grew 19 percent “with almost no help from acquisitions.” That helped push operating margins to 48 percent on a non-GAAP basis.

For the fiscal year, Oracle finished the year with $35.6 billion in sales and a per-share profit of $2.22 non-GAAP.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work