Oracle reports strong quarterly results

Oracle Tuesday reported a strong year-end quarter, with the company set for a "stunning" first quarter in the current fiscal year, according to top executives.

Fourth-quarter application software sales increased 61 percent to $US447 million, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Henley said. This strong quarterly jump in its applications business now makes Oracle the leader not just in database software sales but also in enterprise applications, Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison crowed.

Database revenue grew just 12 percent for the quarter. Ellison said that the lower growth rate was due to changes in Oracle's sales process and predicted much stronger growth in the first quarter.

Adjusted net income rose 76 percent over the previous quarter to $926 million, or 31 cents per share. Revenue grew to $3.4 billion.

A year ago, the quarterly figures were $527 in adjusted net income, 18 cents per share, and $2.9 billion in revenue.

For fiscal year 2000, adjusted net income jumped 61 percent to $2.1 billion, or 69 cents per share. Revenue hit $10.1 billion. For the previous year, adjusted net was $1.3 billion, 43 cents per share, and $8.8 billion in revenue.

In a conference call with reporters and Wall Street analysts, Ellison boasted that Oracle is now bigger than SAP AG, the struggling German software vendor that has led the applications software market for years with its R/3 suite.

"We believe that in the next four quarters we will [continue to sell] more software applications than SAP, which is in serious disarray," he said.

Based on talks with top customers, Oracle President Ray Lane said they are buying Oracle applications because the software creates a complete package for nearly all business functions, with all pieces designed to work with each other, and all accessible via a Web browser.

"There's a new category of software: Internet-based e-business suites," he said. "Customers today need to move fast to put in Internet applications. We've got'em."

Executives said Oracle Business Online, which hosts the Oracle Applications that customers access via a Web browser for a monthly fee, now has about 100 customers, including divisions of McDonald's and Federal Express. Separate revenue for this business, launched about a year ago, was not broken out.

The full earnings press release with the consolidated statements of operations can be found at: http://www.oracle.com/ corporate/pressroom/html/index.html?pr_co.html

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