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Oracle in the pink for Q4, fiscal year

Oracle in the pink for Q4, fiscal year

Broad and strong revenue growth drove Oracle Corp. to higher profit in the fourth quarter and the company's full 2007 fiscal year.

The software giant's quarterly revenue rose 20 percent from a year earlier to US$5.8 billion and its net income was up 23 percent to $1.6 billion, based on generally accepted accounting principles.

The company boasted of big year-over-year gains in revenue from new database and middleware licences, new application licences, services, licensing and software overall. Full-year revenue was also up, with a 25 percent increase to $18 billion. Net income and earnings per share for the year also rose.

"It was a great year," Co-President and Chief Financial Officer Safra Catz said in a news release.

Fourth-quarter earnings also beat Oracle's own past guidance by three cents per share, she said during a conference call on the results.

"We again executed extremely well across the board," Catz said. "We grew all our businesses faster than the market." The company is gaining market share against rivals including SAP, IBM and BEA Systems, while also increasing its profit margin, according to Catz.

Oracle expects to secure even more market share after the next version of its database, Oracle 11g, is released on July 11, said co-President Charles Phillips.

For the current quarter, Oracle expects revenue to grow between 19 percent and 21 percent from a year earlier and new software license revenue increase between 20 percent and 30 percent.

One weak spot in the quarter was Oracle's applications business in North America, where growth was just five percent. That was in comparison to a banner quarter the previous year, CEO Larry Ellison said. He expects strong growth in applications in North America in the current quarter. In the Asia-Pacific region, a smaller part of Oracle's business, applications revenue growth was just one percent.

The company will soon announce a programme that will let channel partners join Oracle's reseller programme and sell products with less administrative overhead, executives said. It will allow resellers to process sales contracts in hours instead of days.


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