In a surprise move, Oracle issued its fourth quarter fiscal 2012 earnings on Monday night, three days earlier than expected. Revenues for the tech giant grew during the quarter as both software sales ramped up, though overall hardware sales slumped.
For the fourth quarter, Oracle reported total revenues of $10.9 billion for a 1 percent year over year gain. New software license revenues during the quarter grew by 7 percent to $4 billion and license update and support revenues grew to $4.2 billion for a 5 percent year over year gain. Net Income for the quarter came in at $3.5 billion for an 8 percent gain, while Earnings Per Share (EPS) came in at $0.69 up by 11 percent.
For the full fiscal year 2012, total revenues were reported at $37.1 billion for a 4 percent improvement over Oracle's fiscal 2011 tally.
"As you can see we delivered a really strong quarter to finish the year in the face of a wild Europe and global economy," Oracle President, Safra Katz said during the company's earnings call. "So, since we were actually ready and in an effort to permit us to speak more freely, we thought you wouldn’t mind if we released earnings today."
One area of Oracle's business that has not been one of uniform growth is the hardware segment. During the fourth quarter, Oracle's hardware systems products revenues were down 16 percent to $977 million. The decline is largely from the commodity x86 server business that Oracle inherited as part of its acquisition of Sun in 2010.
Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, stressed during the earnings call that his company's engineered systems were growing at a rapid rate. Engineered systems include compute, storage, networking and software in a converged platform. Oracle's engineered systems include the Exadata database box, Exalogic for Java applications, and Exalytics for analytics. Ellison said that both Exadata and Exalogic had triple digit bookings growth in the quarter with big customer wins at Facebook, Paypal and Deutche Bank, among others. He noted that Exalytics is also growing fast and is a direct competitor to SAP's HANA in-memory database analytics technology platform.
"We expect our Exa system business to approximately double in the current year," Ellison said. "We will continue to get faster too, riding the tech curve and improving the Exa systems at a fast rate."
The Exa class systems leverage commodity Intel CPUs, enabling Oracle to take advantage of Intel's performance gains as they become available. Ellison noted that for him, the most interesting part of the Exa class systems story is not that it delivers the highest performance in the industry but that it delivers great cost performance as well. That cost performance is a function of the fact that Oracle is using Intel at the core. It's also why Ellison sees further growth potential for the Exa systems as his company carves out an increasing share of the high-end system market.
Fueling the growth of hardware and software sales at Oracle is the company's expanding sales force. Oracle President Mark Hurd noted that the company added 500 salespeople in the fourth quarter for a net increase of 3,300 people, during Oracle's fiscal year..