Archive for January, 2010

SAP this week reported a 9 percent year-on-year drop in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2009, which led to the company’s income dropping 12 percent from its record high one year ago.

"Q4 2008 was a record quarter, the best in the history of the business. That’s the main reason for the decline," said CEO Léo Apotheker in a webcast news conference.

Software revenue was also down, dropping 15 percent, while software and software and software related services fell by 4 percent. But it wasn’t all bad news for SAP. The company reported its support revenue rose 7 percent year-on-year.

Going forward, Apotherker said he expects SAP to return to top-line growth, though admitted "the market continues to be challenging and uncertainty among customers still exists."

The first part of a typical Apple product launch is out of the way now. During the second leg, skeptics will grudgingly make one final attempt at understanding the device just as fanboys get better at pretending that they know pretty much everything they need to know. Both sides can now also factor in the newfangled prospect of making VoIP calls over the iPad’s 3G connection when making their case.

Apple today updated the iPhone developer SDK to accommodate VoIP apps. The move was accompanied by the launch of iCall, the first and only VoIP app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The announcement leaves us with one question, though. Will the iPad support VoIP apps out of the box? There is little reason why it shouldn’t.

Apple’s ban on VoIP functionality riled many feathers while it lasted. The company’s refusal to allow Google Voice to run natively on the iPhone wrecked its relationship with Google, which eventually launched a browser-based HTML 5 app to circumvent the ban. Ironically, VoIP functionality comes to the iPhone barely 24 hours after the launch of the web-based Google Voice app.

It is not clear how this fresh development impacts the hitherto unapproved Google Voice app, which Google claims is not a VoIP app. It uses the carrier’s voice network to make phone calls and not the internet connection.

It’s finally over, and we couldn’t be happier. Not because we have any kind of vested interest in Oracle’s takeover of Sun, but now that the acquisition is complete, we can stop following the rollercoaster ride and gain a sense of closure in a story we’ve been following for too long.

But as happy as we are, Oracle has to be thrilled to put this whole thing behind them, though you’d never know it from the company’s ultra-brief press release (see here).

Maybe’s Oracle’s just worn out, and who can blame them. After gaining quick approval from the U.S. Department of Justice for its proposed $7.4 billion takeover of Sun Microsystems, Oracle, an unstoppable force, ran into the European Union, an immovable object. What happened? Oracle stopped and the EU moved, but not before Oracle gave up a series of concessions dealing with Sun’s free MySQL database software.

"My hat is off to one of the greatest capitalists I have ever met, Larry Ellison," Sun Chairman Scott McNealy said in a memo. "To be honest, this is not a note this founder wants to write. Sun, in my mind, should have been the great and surviving consolidator. But I love the market economy and capitalism more than I love my company."

So will Oracle make good on its promise not to treat its MySQL database like a red-headed stepchild? That’s the only question that remains to be answered.

In the cutthroat storage business, IBM on Tuesday said that more than 200 former Sun and HP customers moved their critical business workloads to IBM systems and storage, representing a 200 percent year-over-year revenue increase.

IBM attributed its ability to lure customers away to its Migration Factory program introduced four years ago. Since that time, IBM says it’s been able help nearly 2,200 companies switch to IBM systems from Sun and HP.

All in all, it’s been a good year for IBM. The company managed to increase the revenue generated from Power Systems from competitive displacements of customers in the fourth quarter of 2009 to $200 million, which amounts to more than $600 million in sales from UNIX competitive takeouts for IBM in 2009, the company said.

Image Credit: IBM

VMWare this week reported $608.2 million in revenue for the quarter ended December 31, 2009, representing an 18 percent increase the same quarter one year ago. It was also considerably higher than what most analysts were expecting, which had the company pegged at about $554 million.

Playing a big role in VMWare’s strong quarter performance was services revenue, which catapulted 52 percent to $303.9 million. This was enough to offset declines in new licenses sales.

It wasn’t all good news, though. Net income for the quarter took a steep backwards slide to $56 million, or $0.14 per share, compared to $111 million, or $0.29 per share in the same quarter one year ago. When looking at the full fiscal year, however, revenue was $2 billion, up 8 percent from $1.9 billion in 2008.

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