Oracle reports record margin despite falling sales

Computing giant Oracle managed to produce a record operating margin in its most recent financial quarter, despite the fact that revenues fell to $6.9 billion, down 5% compared to the same quarter of last year.

The company’s operating margin, a measure of its operational efficiency, was 48%, the highest in the company’s history. Operating income, however, was down 3% to $2.9 billion, an effect Oracle blamed on the rising value of the dollar.

New software license revenues were down 13% to $2.7 billion during the quarter. This is usually seen as an ominous sign foreshadowing reduced support revenues. But new license revenues are down for almost all software companies, thanks to budgetary freezes at most IT departments, and that causal link may not apply.

Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems, agreed in April 2009, takes the software company across the divide into the hardware market. CEO Larry Ellison gave some indication of the company’s ability to operate in that sector by highlighting the performance its recently launched Exadata database appliance, developed in association with HP.

“The Exadata Database Machine is well on its way to being the most successful new product launch in Oracle’s 30 year history,” he said in a press release. “In a recent competitive benchmark, a (data warehousing vendor) Teradata machine took over six hours to process a query that our Exadata Database Machine ran in less than 30 minutes. They bought Exadata.”     

That characteristic quote invites one to speculate what impact the introduction of Ellison’s highly competitive business style will have on the hardware market.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media (now Bonhill Group plc) from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The...

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