"We believe Juniper continues to suffer from inconsistent/lumpy service provider spending, something that is increasingly difficult to predict," notes Ittai Kidron of Oppenheimer & Co. in his bulletin on Juniper's quarter. "In addition, Juniper is at the beginning of several product cycles complicating revenue recognition and raising the execution bar."
On the plus side, Juniper did record an increase in enterprise sales in Q4: 5.6% from Q3, and 9.4% from last year. Switching product revenue increased 28.9% from Q3, and MX Ethernet product revenue increased 11.3%.
And Juniper did finish the full year with record revenue of $4.45 billion.
But with service provider accounting for 60%-plus of Juniper's revenue, Q1 2012 will be down as well. Juniper expects revenue to be $960 million to $990 million, and earnings per share to drop by about 55% from Q4.
"We believe the long-term demand fundamentals remain intact and we are confident about the growth potential of our new product portfolio," Juniper said in a statement. "However, our outlook for the March quarter reflects near-term uncertainty in the macro-environment and the effect it may have on the level, timing, and prioritization of customer demand."
Analysts are waiting for more clarity from Juniper's business. Says Oppenheimer's Kidron: "We see too many moving pieces ... with unclear timing and mixed execution. With competitive pressures rising and multiple product transitions taking place in the midst of macro headwinds, we believe execution risks are high."
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