Oracle Corp claims to have surpassed BEA Systems Inc in the middleware market, a longstanding goal, but did not provide a specific revenue number to back up the claim.
The boast came yesterday, as Oracle announced surprisingly good third fiscal quarter numbers, driven by very healthy growth in new applications licenses.
Oracle’s middleware business is now larger than BEA’s middleware business, or larger than BEA, Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison said in a conference call with analysts. It took a long time, over five years to catch and pass BEA, but we did it.
In BEA’s fiscal 2007, which ended January 31, the company reported license revenue of $573.5m, up 12% on the previous year. Oracle no longer breaks out its middleware revenue in absolute numbers.
But Ellison said that Oracle’s middleware new license revenue grew 82% in the third fiscal quarter, or 60% on the year, compared to BEA’s 8% and 12% growth.
For the quarter ended February 28, Oracle reported total revenue of $4.14bn, up 27%. Net income was up 35% at $1.03bn. Non-GAAP earnings per share was $0.25, two cents better than estimates.
Oracle co-president Safra Catz said that its total new applications license revenue, excluding some recent acquisitions, was $389m for the quarter, up 44% on the year. Excluding the impact of Siebel, its most recent large acquisition, growth was 32%.
Our applications new license sales grew 57% in the third quarter and 61% over the last twelve months, her fellow co-president Charles Phillips said in a statement.
Oracle’s revenue from new software licenses, including non-application software such as databases and middleware, rose by 27% to $1.39bn.
Middleware is a faster-growth market than database or applications, but still relatively small for Oracle in absolute revenue numbers.
We have very fast growing middleware business that is getting larger, as it gets larger it will move the needle more and more, Ellison said. As middleware gets to be larger and larger compared to database, and is faster-growing, that’s going to affect our overall growth rate.
The company has been talking about its goal of becoming bigger in middleware than BEA for some years, and in several recent quarters has claimed to be nipping at BEA’s heels. Even if it has, as it claims, grown bigger, it still trails leader IBM Corp.