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Oracle first-quarter revenue misses estimates, shares fall

[BENGALURU] Oracle Corp on Monday reported first-quarter revenue that narrowly missed analysts' estimates, suggesting that the business software maker was struggling to make inroads in the highly competitive cloud computing market.

Shares of Oracle fell 4 per cent to US$47.30 in extended trading as the company's biggest unit, which houses its cloud services business, also reported disappointing sales.

Revenue in its cloud services and license support business rose 3.2 per cent to US$6.61 billion, falling short of the average analyst estimate of US$6.71 billion, with the co-Chief Executive Officer Safra Katz attributing the miss to a strong dollar.

Oracle is a late entrant to the cloud business and has been playing catch up with rivals, including Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp and Salesforce.com Inc.

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In its efforts to take a bigger share of the cloud computing market, the company said earlier this year that it would quadruple the number of its largest data centers.

However, the company is yet to present a credible challenge to the dominant players in the industry.

Oracle stopped breaking out its cloud computing numbers in the fourth quarter, a move that drew criticism from analysts and investors, who said it gave little insight into the performance of its key business.

"We want to compare Oracle's cloud business to other cloud leaders that recently reported strong cloud growth ... but we cannot due to the lack of specific details," said Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager of Synovus Trust Co, which holds Oracle shares.

"That's actually the nitty gritty why everyone is frustrated and the stock is down."

For the second quarter, the company said it expected revenue to be flat to up 2 per cent and earnings of US78 to US80 cents per share, the mid-point of which was in line with analysts' estimates.

Net income rose to US$2.27 billion, or US57 cents per share, in the reported quarter ended Aug. 31 from US$2.14 billion, or 50 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 71 cents per share, while total revenue rose 1 per cent to US$9.19 billion.

REUTERS