Strong quarter for SAP blighted by Oracle fine

Business applications vendor SAP posted a sharp rise in software sales during its fourth quarter, but the fallout from its recent legal dispute with rival Oracle took the shine off an otherwise strong performance.

For the three-month period ending 31 December, Europe’s largest software company reported €1.5 billion in new license sales, up 34% from €1.12 billion in the year ago quarter. Total revenues were €4.0 billion, a 27% rise from €3.2 billion a year ago.

“This result is clear proof that focusing on innovation and customer value is the right strategy,” commented Jim Hagemann Snabe, SAP co-CEO, in a statement.

However, SAP’s recent legal defeat by competitor Oracle meant it was unable to report a profit figure. Oracle successfully sued SAP European vendor’s now defunct subsidiary TomorrowNow stole its intellectual property, and a US court ruled that SAP pay $1.3 billion in damages to Oracle. This amount is subject to appeal.

Despite this, SAP’s latest results suggest the company’s recent turnaround might be sustained. Hit hard by the recession, SAP’s financial woes culminated in the ejection of CEO Leo Apotheker at the start of 2010, but business has since recovered.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

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

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