Oracle grew its revenues by just 2% in the third quarter of this financial year, a disappointing result for a company that has enjoyed consistent double-digit quarterly revenue growth rates for many years.
The company said that its revenue growth, from $5.2 billion to $5.4 billion, was impaired by currency fluctuations. Had currency rates remained constant, quarterly growth would have been 11%, Oracle said.
Net income actually fell by 1% to $1.33 billion. Again, however, if the effect of currency fluctuations were removed, net income would have grown by 14%.
But don’t feel sorry for the applications, middleware and database software vendor just yet. Despite this sluggish revenue and income growth, the quarter saw Oracle achieve an operating margin of 36%, the highest third-quarter margin in its history.
Another first for the company was the announcement of a dividend for investors. Usually, this is frowned upon in the IT sector, as companies are expected to drive spare cash into new products. In this climate, however, investors will most likely appreciate the cash return. The dividend has sparked speculation that Oracle’s all-consuming acquisition spree might be drawing to a close.
The company was unsurprisingly cautious about the coming quarter. Revenues could do anything between growing 2% and shrinking 3% in the fourth quarter of the year.
Outspoken CEO Larry Ellison took the opportunity to belittle the company’s main rival in the applications space, SAP.
“We have a much broader portfolio than SAP,” he told analysts on conference call. “We’re also more modern. I think we’re going to be able to take market share from them for years to come.”