Oracle Q3 Earnings Build On Sun

Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) is continuing to grow its business, with strong revenues for its third fiscal quarter. Growth is coming from all sectors, including hardware from its Sun Microsystem acquisition.

“We saw strength across all regions, industries and product segments,” Oracle President, Mark Hurd, said during the company’s earnings call. “Engineered systems have fundamentally changed the game. The systems actually changed the entire value proposition of both hardware and software, which is why all our competitors are scrambling to react.”

Oracle reported third quarter 2011 revenues of $8.8 billion, a 37 percent year-over-year increase. Net Income was reported at $2.2 billion, representing a 78 percent year-over-year gain. Earnings per share were up by 75 percent to $0.42 per share for the quarter. Moving forward, Oracle provided fourth quarter revenue guidance for total revenue growth on a GAAP basis to range from 10 percent to 14 percent at current exchange rates.

While growth came across a number of segments, one particular area highlighted by Oracle during its earnings call was a 29 percent growth in their software license revenue stream.

“You can really see our momentum in our Apps business as we continue to take share from SAP,” Oracle President, Safra Catz said during the call. “So over the last couple of years, our new license revenue for applications has grown 53 percent in constant currency or about more than 10x faster than SAP over the same period.”

Growth is also coming from improved execution on the hardware side of Oracle’s business. A key part of that business is the technology that Oracle acquired as part of the acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

“This quarter, we delivered 55 percent gross margins on our hardware business,” Catz said. “This is the result of the fact that, really, under the covers of the hardware number, the Sun products are growing and the non-Sun products that are resold, that we resell are shrinking dramatically.”

Catz also used the earnings call to vindicate Oracle’s purchase price for Sun, relative to what HP paid for storage vendor 3PAR.

“Remember, we paid $5.7 billion for Sun, net of cash,” Catz said. “And had we paid for Sun based on the HP 3PAR multiple, it would’ve cost us nearly $140 billion. Don’t worry, we wouldn’t do that.”

As to why Oracle has been able to grow the former Sun business, Hurd noted that the stability and sustainability of Oracle as a business is a key factor.

“With Oracle, you’re certainly taking care of one issue that did concern Sun customers, which was the viability of the entity,” Hurd said. “Was the company sustainable? As you know, many of these customers made commitments and they look to be on this platform for years. So when they make those decisions, they want to know that the company is going to be there and be behind it.”

Oracle has also continued to invest in Sun technology including SPARC, Solaris and the Exadata and Exalogic cloud server platforms.

“On Exadata, I don’t know how else to say this to you – it’s just good stuff,” Hurd said. “There’s just no secret here, the stuff works.”

According to Hurd, the fact that Oracle’s technology works is a key factor in the company’s continued financial success. The integrated hardware, software and services approach that Oracle offers is also critical to the company’s success.

“Listen, our stuff works and it’s out there today,” Hurd said. “You need show up with stuff that works, stuff that’s available, stuff that can be accessible 24/7 and that’s the key to what we do. We don’t have to show up with a federated set of companies.”

“We have one-stop shopping on our vertical integration, it is our stuff, it is tested,” Hurd added. “It is engineered together, it shows up and performs and it gets supported.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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