Oracle shares drop four per cent as investors dissatisfied with Q3 revenues

By Peter Gothard
19 Mar 2014 View Comments
Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison

Oracle's Q3 2014 earnings have left shareholders despondent, with shares in the company falling four per cent overnight.

While the company's hardware sales grew eight per cent to $725m - marking the first actual increase since Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystem - overall revenue grew by a more modest four per cent to $9.31bn, taking the firm's total profit for the quarter to $2.56bn.

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In contrast to these relatively lacklustre figures, the three months represented "best quarter ever" as far as Oracle's cloud business was concerned, according to president Mark Hurd.

"We're just winning in the cloud across all portfolios," he said, citing an extra 250 customers on top of the 650 the company was talking about around Oracleworld last year.

"We thought we knew a lot a year ago or a couple years ago," said Hurd.

"We just know a lot more now. We obviously have more feet on the street than we had and... they've been in place longer."

Gartner analyst Chad Eschinger told Computing that he was "not surprised" by Oracle's growth figures.

"For a company of that size to generate four per cent growth top line, it's pretty good," he said, "and pretty consistent with the last number of quarters they've produced".

But Eschinger believes that Oracle's performance is also consistent with general market trends, explaining that cloud uptake is still not running at a blistering rate while organisations continue to view cloud adoption as "strategic", rather than something to take up wholesale.

Eschinger believes Oracle continues to suffer from its relatively late arrival on the cloud scene.

"Salesforce has been there for some time, while Oracle has been developing the Fusion project for eight or nine years," he told Computing.

"They really didn't have anything until Fusion [Oracle's middleware porftfolio] went GA [general availability] a few years ago as a cloud-based offering. They had services, but a true cloud-based offering wasn't part of the portfolio. And that put them, like SAP, behind.

"There's no doubt that anyone who didn't have a product in cloud was losing business. Salesforce still owns the majority of that market, but I'd suggest that Oracle is going to start leapfrogging in terms of market share. That's if they don't lose deals.

"[Oracle] will need to be opportunistic with the pricing around it," said Eschinger. "None of this is to say Salesforce and Workday aren't going to be major competitors."

Eschinger said he expects to see Oracle's cloud business to grow by 10 per cent over the next year.

"That's good growth. And I think that will just continue over the next couple of years to offset any decline or flatness in traditional ERP on-remise business," Eschinger told Computing.

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