Oracle's Q1 strong, but hardware sales lag; New SPARC chip on tap

Summary:Oracle's software revenue---applications, middleware and databases---was solid, but hardware sales lagged.

Oracle delivered a better-than-expected first quarter, but hardware revenue came in at the low end of expectations.

Oracle reported first quarter earnings of $1.8 billion, or 36 cents a share, on revenue of $8.4 billion, up 12 percent from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings were 48 cents a share.

Wall Street was expecting Oracle to report first quarter earnings of 46 cents a share on revenue of $8.35 billion. The first quarter is typically Oracle’s weakest as it sets its fiscal 2012 plans into motion.

Oracle didn't provide its guidance in the statement, but will provide an outlook on its conference call. Wall Street is expecting second quarter earnings of 56 cents a share on revenue of $3.58 billion.

UPDATE: Oracle said it will deliver non-GAAP earnings of 56 cents a share to 58 cents a share in the second quarter. Revenue will be up 4 percent to 8 percent.

Ellison said Oracle will accelerate away from low-end hardware to focus on so-called engineered systems.

As expected by many analysts, Oracle's software revenue---applications, middleware and databases---was solid, but hardware sales lagged.

Here's the quick rundown (statement, preview):

  • New software license revenue in the first quarter was up 17 percent to $1.5 billion.
  • Software license updates and support revenue was $4 billion in the first quarter, up 17 percent from a year ago.
  • Hardware revenue was down 5 percent in the first quarter to $1 billion. Oracle had projected hardware revenue between $1.03 billion and $1.1 billion excluding support.

Safra Catz, Oracle president and CFO, said the company boosted its operating margins via organic growth and "disciplined business management."

Oracle president Mark Hurd noted that high-end server sales led by Exadata and Exalogic showed double-digit revenue growth in the first quarter, but low-end server sales tanked. Hardware gross margins jumped to 54 percent in the first quarter, but Oracle isn't growing its overall hardware revenue footprint. Analysts, however, expect Oracle to launch an “Exadata mini” at OpenWorld.

Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, touted a new SPARC chip to be launched next week along with a new SPARC SuperCluster server. The upshot is that Oracle is on board with high-end servers and appears willing to cannibalize share.

By the numbers:

  • Database and middleware revenue in the first quarter was $478 million, up 7 percent from a year ago, with applications bringing in $249 million in sales, up 18 percent.
  • Hardware support revenue in the first quarter was up 8 percent to $645 million.
  • Services revenue was $1.18 billion, up 14 percent from the first quarter a year ago.
  • Revenue in the Americas was $4.23 billion in the first quarter. Europe, Middle East and Africa sales were $2.7 billion in the first quarter and Asia Pacific sales checked in at $1.44 billion.
  • Oracle ended the quarter with 109,388 employees.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Banking, Hardware, Oracle

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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