Oracle's Q3: Revenue miss, earnings in line amid currency qualms

Oracle's cloud business continues to grow, prompting Chairman Larry Ellison to hint at a challenge this year against Salesforce.com.

With currency fluctuations once again having investors biting their nails with anxiety, Oracle published third quarter financial results after the bell on Tuesday.

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And once again, Oracle broke down actual and would-be results as a result of the strengthening of the U.S. dollar.

The tech giant reported a net income of $2.5 billion, or 56 cents per share (statement).

Non-GAAP earnings were 68 cents per share on a revenue of $9.3 billion.

Wall Street was looking for earnings of 68 cents a share on revenue of $9.47 billion.

Oracle CEO Safra Catz stressed Oracle did beat "the midpoint of my constant currency guidance on every single financial metric this past quarter."

Looking at Q3 results by department, the cloud unit continues to grow, with Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service revenue up 30 percent to $372 million, or 34 percent in constant currency.

Fellow Oracle CEO Mark Hurd added in the report that Oracle sold "nearly $200 million of new SaaS and PaaS business as measured in annual recurring revenue," with expectations to grow that figure to $300 million in Q4.

"That means we have a real chance to sell more SaaS and PaaS new business this coming quarter than any other cloud services provider," reflected Hurd. "I think our hyper-growth in the cloud comes as a big surprise to a lot of people."

But Hardware Systems revenue dropped slightly by two percent to $1.3 billion, although Oracle cited it would have been up five percent in constant currency.

Still, Oracle chairman and CTO Larry Ellison reiterated the goal to grow the SaaS and PaaS businesses to more than $1 billion by the end of the calendar year -- hinting a challenge for a long-time partner/competitor.

"Salesforce.com has announced that it also expects to add about $1 billion of new SaaS and PaaS business this year," Ellison said in prepared remarks. "So it's going to be a close race who sells more in the cloud this year, us or them. Stay tuned."

For the fourth quarter, Oracle is expected to report earnings of 94 cents a share on revenue of $11.44 billion.

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