Oracle database sales start to rise again

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Oracle database sales start to rise again

Oracle has reported earnings for its second fiscal quarter that exceeded analysts' estimates, and said that its database software business is showing new signs of life.

For the second quarter of 2003, revenue for the database software maker declined slightly to $2.31bn (£1.44bn), from $2.38bn (£1.49bn) in the same quarter a year earlier.

Net income was also down, to $535m, compared with $549m in the second quarter last year.

Oracle chief financial officer Jeff Henley had predicted revenue falls in the second quarter of between 4% and 7%. The final results came in nearer 3%.

Henley told analysts he was " optimistic" that the industry is on the rebound. "We think things have bottomed out."

Oracle executives said its database business has started to grow again. At the end of the first quarter, Oracle had about 200,000 database customers worldwide on record, about a quarter of which have upgraded to its Oracle9i database.

Revenue from customers updating existing software licences improved by 8% to $954m, while revenue from new software licences fell 7%, to $765m. Revenue from services also declined by roughly 11% to $590m.

Oracle said it planned to continue layoffs this quarter, cutting "a couple of hundred" more positions from its worldwide workforce. It is also reorganising its sales force to include two separate divisions.

One group sells technology - Oracle's databases, application servers and collaboration suite - and another sells applications, chairman and chief executive officer Larry Ellison said.

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