OpenWorld: Oracle results beat analysts' expectations

Oracle has reported first-quarter revenues of $5.3 billion (£3 billion), a rise of 18 percent year-on-year, while net income was up 28 percent at $1.1 billion (£610 million).

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Oracle has reported first-quarter revenues of $5.3 billion (£3 billion), a rise of 18 percent year-on-year, while net income was up 28 percent at $1.1 billion (£610 million).

Software revenues rose 20 percent to $4.2 billion, while new software license sales were $1.2 billion, an increase of 14 percent.

Oracle's results had been highly anticipated by Wall Street during a week rocked by turmoil in the financial markets. The vendor's shares had already dropped about 20 percent since early to mid-August, to $18.73 at the close of trading on Thursday, but rose to about $19 immediately after hours.

Chief executive Larry Ellison vowed Oracle would continue to post strong growth despite the turbulent economy. "The license renewal business ... is about half of our business," he said. "That's an extremely high-margin business and continues to grow."

And the company's dominance in key products, such as databases, helps sustain its momentum, Ellison added. "The fact we sell more database than anyone else means we can invest more in improving our database," he said.

But middleware is Oracle's fastest-growing product line, Ellison said: "We think [we have moved] from number two to number one in middleware. We have either passed IBM or are about to pass IBM."

Oracle's annual OpenWorld user conference begins in San Francisco on Sunday. Evidence and speculation have mounted over the product and strategy announcements officials will make there, particularly regarding Oracle database 11g.

Oracle president Charles Phillips said the company will deliver an update to 11g this quarter, and confirmed that a database-related announcement would be made at OpenWorld, but did not provide specifics.

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