Oracle's Q1: Cloud, great. Hardware, meh. Mergers, unlikely

Larry previews 'self-driving' database plans

Oracle kicked off its 2018 fiscal year by reporting more than $9bn in total revenues.

The enterprise software giant talked up its cloud business Thursday while CEO Larry Ellison made a point of needling his rivals in the SaaS space. For the Q1 fiscal year 2018 period, ending August 31:

  • Revenues of $9.2bn topped analyst estimates of $9.03bn and were up 7 per cent from Q1 FY2017.
  • Net income of $2.2bn (GAAP) was up 21 per cent from $1.83bn in the year-ago quarter.
  • Earnings per share of $0.62 edged out analyst estimates of $0.60.
  • Cloud revenues of $1.47bn were up 51 per cent from $969m a year ago.
  • On-prem software revenues were $5.9bn, up 2 per cent from Q1 FY2017.
  • Hardware revenues of $943m were down 5 per cent year-over-year.
  • Services revenues were $860m, up 6 per cent from the year-ago quarter.

In announcing the numbers, Oracle CTO Larry Ellison made a point of talking up the continued cloud growth, and even delivered a shot across the bow of SaaS rival Salesforce.

"We sell double what Salesforce does in absolute dollars," Ellison told analysts. "We are taking share across the entire apps ecosystem and from our cloud competitors as well."

Salesforce boss Marc Benioff was quick to respond to Ellison on Twitter.

Ellison also eschewed the notion of making a big acquisition to further Oracle's cloud business, saying "there is no one left to buy," and suggesting that Oracle would instead continue to rely on its in-house products.

When he wasn't talking up the cloud gains, Ellison used the earnings release to give a preview of at least one of the things Oracle will be showing off next month at its OpenWorld conference in San Francisco.

"In a couple of weeks, we will announce the world's first fully autonomous database cloud service," said Ellison. "Based on machine learning, the latest version of Oracle is a totally automated 'self-driving' system that does not require human beings to manage or tune the database."

Oracle shares were down 4.3 per cent after hours at $50.62, due in part to a lower-than-expected guidance for next quarter. ®

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