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Wall Street Beat: Software vendors report mixed results amid market tumult

Marc Ferranti | June 24, 2013
While Red Hat had a strong quarter, sales were soft for Tibco and Oracle.

"When we saw weakness, we saw weakness in all of our software lines," CEO Larry Ellison said in a conference call to discuss results. "It was clearly an economic issue, not a product competitiveness issue."

Still, some industry insiders remain optimistic even in the face of a tough economic environment.

"We see a gold rush coming," said Tibco CEO Vivek Ranadivé in an interview after the company announced quarterly results Thursday. Big data analytics is the "secret sauce for the most successful retailers," Ranadivé said. Vendors that can show they have superior products that allow real time analysis of data integrated from a variety of sources -- including mobile devices -- will be able to take advantage of enterprises' rush to implement big-data applications, he said.

Nevertheless, Tibco reported a tough quarter. Quarterly revenue for the period ending June 2 was $245.8 million, down from $247.4 million a year earlier, while net income was $8.7 million, down from $26.5 million.

Tibco, which offers a portfolio of middleware and analytics software geared for the integration and real time analysis of massive amounts of data, is not being hurt by economic concerns, Ranadivé insisted, but has had sales execution issues, which it has taken pains to resolve. Top sales executives have been replaced and the sales process has been reviewed and overhauled "from A to Z," Ranadivé said.

"In my many conversations with customers, I have not seen those customers unwilling to spend money," Ranadivé said in a conference call with analysts to discuss results. "However, what is the case today is that software providers of every stripe need to demonstrate value to sell their products. They need to showcase their differentiation and more importantly, make precisely clear how they will move the needle for their clients in terms of revenue or market share gains, specific and lasting cost reductions or improvements in managing risks."

Tibco has a strong pipeline of deals in the works, Ranadive added, and expects to see results from its overhaul of its sales team over the next few quarters.

Meanwhile, open-source software vendor Red Hat, reporting quarterly results Wednesday, showed strong gains in both sales and profit. Total revenue for the quarter was $363 million, a year over year increase of 15 percent, while net income rose to $40 million from $37 million.

"We delivered mid-teens revenue growth driven by customer demand for innovative open source technologies based on a high-value subscription model," said CEO Jim Whitehurst in a press release. "We continued to execute against our strategy of significantly expanding our addressable market in the new cloud-centric data center."

Tech companies whose quarter ends in June, meanwhile, will report results in about a month. Those results may reflect some of the economic uncertainty that has arisen this month.


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