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Oracle posts strong second quarter earnings

Oracle reported fiscal second quarter net income of US$1.3 billion, or 25 cents a share, on revenue of US$5.3 billion, up 28 percent from a year ago.

Oracle reported fiscal second quarter net income of US$1.3 billion, or 25 cents a share, on revenue of US$5.3 billion, up 28 percent from a year ago. Excluding charges, Oracle earned 31 cents a share to handily top Wall Street estimates.

According to Thomson Financial, Oracle was expected to report earnings of 27 cents a share on revenue of US$5 billion for the quarter ending Nov. 30.

Overall, the quarter was strong. Oracle's software license revenue was up 35 percent, the best showing in 10 years. Oracle CFO Safra Catz noted in a statement that the company exceeded its "best case forecast".

As for guidance, Catz's projections on an earnings conference call were in line with expectations for the third quarter. Catz said third quarter software revenue will be up 15 percent to 25 percent. Total revenue will be up 21 percent to 24 percent under generally accepted accounting principles.

Non-GAAP earnings will be 29 cents a share to 39 cents a share. Wall Street is expecting earnings of 29 cents a share. Under GAAP, Oracle's third quarter earnings will be 23 cents to 25 cents a share.

Catz did note that Oracle was benefiting from the weak dollar, but added that the company is diversified enough to weather a downturn in some verticals like financial services.

"We read the same newspapers you do and we take that into account when projecting our business," said Catz on the call. "We have a broad highly diversified customer base."

Oracle is being conservative. For good measure, Oracle noted some key customer wins among banks.

Regarding the BEA proposed acquisition during the quarter, Catz said Oracle has talked to BEA's investment bankers and concluded no friendly deal will be closed under current management.

Oracle also took jabs at SAP's new license sales growth on the ERP side of the house and IBM on the database side. On the conference call, CEO Larry Ellison reiterated Oracle's intent to focus on large companies and sell vertical specific applications. He said SAP’s plan to chase the SMB market would not work since there is no leverage.

Ellison said the company was winning ERP deals in hot verticals such as telecommunications, which are operating on dated legacy systems.

Oracle also claimed that it has won 65 deals in head-to-head competition with SAP.

This article was originally a blog post on ZDNet.com.