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Oracle Rushes Out Results to Confound Rumors

Q4 Numbers Coming Out Three Days Early Amidst Reorg Talk

Oracle Monday put out its fiscal Q4 numbers three days early amid talk of a major management reorg and reports that long-time North American sales chief Keith Block was out.

Seems he badmouthed Oracle's "Exa" hardware business as "a dog" and "dead dead dead" and said Oracle co-president Mark Hurd not Larry Ellison should be CEO in instant messages exchanged last year with Oracle's HR chief Anie Dodson.

The IMs got out in a discovery dump last month by HP in connection with the ongoing HP v Oracle trial over Oracle's refusal to continue to write software for Itanium.

A hurried Oracle CFO Safra Catz said Oracle put the numbers out early so it could "speak more freely." Guess she meant that otherwise it would be in a quiet period until Thursday evening. Presumably Oracle didn't want to take more of a hit than the 2% it was off Monday on the gossip and give HP the satisfaction.

Hurd said in a conference call that there's no management reorg - well, at least there are no changes anywhere to speak of and no serious attrition - but Block is evidently toast. CNBC said so, which is more than you could divine from the call. His bio is still on the Oracle web site last we looked.

To quiet things down the company said it will buy back up to $10 billion worth of its stock.

Oracle's performance in the May quarter was better-than-expected which pushed the stock up nearly 3% after-hours, making up for its Monday losses.

Fiscal Q4 revenues were up 1% to $10.9 billion returning guidance-besting earnings per share of 82 cents (non-GAAP), up 10% to $4.1 billion. The company said earnings would have been a few cents higher if the dollar hadn't gotten stronger. Ditto revenues.

It was expected to return 78 cents on $10.89 billion.

New software license revenues were up 7% to $4 billion. Software license updates and support revenues were up 5% to $4.2 billion.

Despite reports of a $100 million contract Catz said the results weren't dependent on any large deal.

Hardware revenues were down 16% to $977 million, as widely expected.

In a canned statement Hurd said, "Engineered systems business is now operating at well over a billion dollar revenue run rate. For the year, the Exadata, Exalogic, Exalytics, Sparc SuperCluster and the Oracle Big Data Appliance product group grew over 100% year-over-year."

Block apparently felt Hurd should be paying more attention to Oracle's overseas business. However, all products and all geographies including a euro-tossed EMEA were up double-digits and Catz described systems growth rates as "amazing."

The Oracle crew expects its high-end "Exa" machines to pass IBM's Power-based systems in revenue in FY 13.

CEO Larry Ellison waded in with the statement that "The development of Oracle Cloud is strategic to increasing the size and profitability of Oracle's software business. Our Oracle Cloud SaaS business is nearly at a billion-dollar revenue run rate, the same size as our engineered systems hardware business. The combination of engineered systems and the Oracle Cloud will drive Oracle's growth in FY 2013."

Non-GAAP operating income was up 5% in the May quarter to $5.5 billion, and non-GAAP operating margin was 50%.

Catz said new software licenses this quarter should grow 5%-15% in constant currency and total revenue should be up 3%-6% with EPS at 54 cents-58 cents.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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