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Oracle quarterly earnings rise 31%

Oracle has reported net income up 31% year on year for its fourth financial quarter, on revenue up 2% on the same period a year ago.

Revenue from software licence updates and product support rose most strongly, while services revenue fell 11%.

Total revenue in the fourth quarter rose to $2.83 bn. Of that, $1.07bn came from software licence updates and product support, up 12% on the previous year, and $580m from services, down 11%. Other revenue, including new software licences, rose just 1% over the year, to $1.19bn.

Revenue for the full 2003 financial year was down 2% on the previous year, to $9.47bn.

Net income for the quarter to 31 May totalled $858m. For the same quarter last year, Oracle reported net income of $656m.

For the full year, revenue from the Americas slipped 8% year on year to $4.84bn. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, revenue rose by 7% year on year to $3.25bn, and in Asia-Pacific it rose by 3% to $1.38bn.

Chairman and chief executive officer Larry Ellison spoke mainly of Oracle's hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft, saying that he wanted to give PeopleSoft shareholders and customers a choice.

He claimed companies such as Merrill Lynch are already choosing to turn off PeopleSoft applications and pay for Oracle licences. If Oracle's bid for PeopleSoft was successful, then PeopleSoft customers will be offered Oracle licences free of charge, he said.

Yesterday PeopleSoft rejected Oracle's bid, but Ellison was considering the prospect of future acquisitions. "If the opportunity presents itself, it's something we are likely to do."

Peter Sayer writes for IDG News Service


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