Salesforce delivers strong Q3, closes in on $3 billion in annual revenue

While you can quibble about the fourth quarter earnings outlook, Salesforce.com appears to be firing on all cylinders.

Salesforce delivered strong third quarter results, issued a light earnings outlook for the fourth quarter and said it will push toward $3 billion in revenue for fiscal 2013.

While you can quibble about the fourth quarter earnings outlook, Salesforce.com appears to be firing on all cylinders.

The company reported a third quarter loss of $3.76 million, or 3 cents a share, on revenue of $584.3 million. Non-GAAP earnings for the quarter ended Oct. 31 were 34 cents a share.

Wall Street was looking for non-GAAP earnings of 31 cents a share on revenue of $571.5 million.

As for the outlook for the fourth quarter, Salesforce's earnings outlook looked light relative to expectations as sales surge. Salesforce projected fourth quarter revenue to be between $620 million to $624 million. Wall Street was looking for $609.8 million.

Here's the earnings outlook:

Wall Street was expecting non-GAAP earnings of 40 cents a share.

Analysts have been closely watching Salesforce's sales and marketing expenses. In the third quarter, operating expenses were $465.8 million, up from $311.8 million a year ago. Of that sum, sales and marketing expenses were $304 million in the quarter, up from $200.5 million a year ago.

For fiscal 2013, Salesforce projected revenue in the range of $2.88 billion to $2.92 billion.

By the numbers for the third quarter:

  • Deferred revenue was $918 million, up 32 percent from a year ago.
  • Salesforce had $1.3 billion in cash and equivalents as of Oct. 31.
  • Research and development spending was $76.05 million, up from $47.3 million a year ago.
  • Subscription and support revenue was $549.18 million.

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