25 striking things Oracle said on its Q4 earnings call

After a lacking quarter, the U.S. enterprise computing company brightens its guidance and lobs bombs at Workday. A roundup of what you need to know about Larry Ellison and co.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

If you didn't catch Larry Dignan's earlier report, Oracle reported its quarterly earnings this evening, and it fell short of expectations.

The stock was down quite a bit after that news. To get more color, I joined the conference call that followed the announcement.

Chief executive Larry Ellison, CFO Safra Catz and president Mark Hurd were present to soothe concerns that the company is losing ground to rivals in the wars underway for the cloud and open source database. They made quite a few bold statements.

Let's dive in.

1.) Despite the lackluster quarter, Oracle's outlook for the next quarter is in line with Wall Street expectations. Wall Street was looking for non-GAAP earnings of 58 cents a share on revenue of $8.57 billion; Catz estimated an EPS of 56-59 cents per share.

2.) "Our last major software acquisition was more than five years ago," Catz said. (Do with that what you will.)

3.) In Q4 alone, Oracle added 500 new SaaS customers. "Not only are we bigger than Workday, but we are growing faster than Workday," Hurd said.

4.) Thanks to signing deals with huge clients like Capital One, "Our success in the cloud is significant and undeniable," Hurd said.

5.) Oracle is transferring its exchange listing from Nasdaq to the New York Stock Exchange on July 15, 2013, Catz said.

6.) "Some of SAP's largest customers -- giant German industrial companies -- bought Exadata, not HANA," Ellison said. Like Siemens.

7.) Ellison added: "SAP's sales numbers don't add up…you decide: either HANA is doing well and SAP's application business is in steep decline, or HANA is not doing so well, and SAP's application business is fine. You can't have it both ways."

8.) "We just might see overall hardware growth this Q1, and we will see overall hardware growth for the full fiscal year," Ellison said.

9.) "Some of it has to do with the transactions getting skinnier," Hurd said, discussing sales performance. His reason: the average size per transaction is dropping because of macroeconomic issues Oracle can't control.

10.) "Virtually all of them will go to our cloud businesses," Ellison said of Oracle's wave of new sales team hires for North America and Europe.

11.) "If that pipe's not sitting there, you lose out on the action," Hurd said, describing the need to expand sales in South America even while facing economic headwinds. He's waiting for the turnaround.

12.) "There is no real Asia per se," Ellison said. "It's behavior by country." What he's seeing: pressure in China, weakness in Australia, stability in Korea and India.

13.) "Next week we will be announcing techology partnerships with the most largest and important SaaS companies and infrastructure companies in the cloud," Hurd said. "And they will be using and committing to our technology for years to come."

14.) Hurd's "startling series of announcements" will "reshape the cloud" and perception of it. He mentioned Salesforce, NetSuite and Microsoft.

15.) We are the second-largest SaaS provider in the cloud," Ellison reminded everyone. (Salesforce is number one.) "We are larger than SAP and Workday combined."

16.) Take human capital management software, for example. "We added more new Fusion HCM core customers last quarter than Workday added for HCM and ERP customers," Ellison said. "That's just Fusion. Not Taleo!"

17.) And in case you forgot: "Oracle database and Java—those are the two most important platforms on the face of the Earth," Ellison said, pausing, "For building applications."

18.) "We think our PaaS business is one of our huge competitive advantages," Ellison said, speaking about platform-as-a-service. There's Salesforce on one side and Amazon on the other, but neither's huge in PaaS. "When you buy a SaaS product, it doesn't mean you're not going to build other things in the cloud," he said.

19.) Marc Benioff has "done a good job," and that's all well and good, but his company's platform "is not based on industry standards," Ellison said. Oracle database and Java are the industry standards.

20.) "We don't think any of the cloud players can compete with us at the platform layer," Ellison said.

21.) And in case you doubted Oracle on the cloud: "I'm very optimistic about our ability to compete in the cloud," Ellison said. "We're moving aggressively to sell not only our applications, but our database, and Java…we think the opportunity is gigantic and we're well-positioned." With the Oracle 12C database, that is.

22.) "When someone chooses an Oracle application in the cloud versus an Oracle application on-premise, we make more money over time," Ellison said. "We take that money differently, but…over a reasonable term, we benefit tremendously from a move to the cloud."

23.) "One of the reasons I think SAP can't compete with Oracle over the long term is because of [Oracle database] 12.1c," Ellison said. "We don't think anyone can touch it."

24.) "You think of Salesforce.com as a company with a strong foothold with companies that sell B2B," Ellison said. "We have an equally strong foothold with companies that sell B2C."

25.) "We just don't lose deals," Hurd said.

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