Oracle untouched by downturn

Larry Ellison’s Oracle outfit does not appear to be too worried about any downturn in the global technology market.

Oracle forecast earnings for the current quarter are higher than expected. It also said that it was having robust software sales.

The news was greeted with relief by its shareholders, who were worried that companies worldwide were not spending on technology.

Oracle shares rose three percent after it said new software sales increased 17 percent in its first fiscal quarter, ended August 31. Analysts had expected 15 percent.

Oracle predicted software sales growth for the current quarter in a range of six percent to 16 percent. If it is right, then it is potentially much higher than the flat to 10 percent estimated by ThinkEquity analyst Brian Schwartz. Things could also be a lot worse.

Oracle is confident of market share gains against rivals such as SAP in Europe. The EU accounts for a third of its business but is grappling with a widening economic crisis. Even so, the European figures for Oracle were much better than expected and show market share growth against SAP.

Richard Davis, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, pointed out to Reuters  that the European countries in most trouble, Greece, Ireland and Spain, were not key Oracle markets anyway.

Mark “Well Everybody’s Heard, About The” Hurd added that Oracle had a solid quarter in Europe. He thinks that this might be Oracle and not connected to what the rest of the industry is dealing with. Hurd pointed out that he is hiring in Europe.

Oracle forecast a four percent to eight percent gain in revenue this quarter, which translates into sales of $9 billion to $9.3 billion. This is slightly worse than Wall Street predictions of $9.36 billion.

However, it was not all great for Oracle. Its hardware sales following the purchase of Sun Microsystems slipped one percent to $1.67 billion. This is actually better than many expected but Oracle expects another weak quarter for hardware and forecast sales in a range of flat to down five percent in the current quarter.