MICROSOFT PROFIT SURPRISES WITH STRONG GROWTH
Seattle, WA. — Software giant Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday posted a quarterly profit that blew past expectations, powered by shrinking expenses, growing investment gains, and momentum in its flagship product, the Windows 2000 operating system. Microsoft, whose Windows software runs most personal computers, said its net profit in its fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30 rose 18 percent to $2.58 billion, or 46 cents a share from $2.19 billion, or 40 cents a share, a year earlier. Including a change in how it must account for some hedging activities, the quarter’s profit was 40 cents a share. The Redmond, Wash.-based company was expected to show a profit of 41 cents a share, according to estimates compiled by First Call/Thomson Financial. Revenues totaled $5.8 billion, compared to $5.38 billion a year earlier. Analysts said they were relieved that Microsoft did not spring any nasty surprises on a market that has been battered by a string of bad news, diminished expectations and profit warnings by other technology heavyweights. “I was very encouraged,” said Scott McAdams, president of Seattle-based brokerage McAdams Wright Ragen. “If you were looking for bad news, there just wasn’t anything there.”
The higher-than expected profit was surprising since most analysts had expected the company to just meet estimates or perhaps top them by a penny or two at most. “In general we feel good about the quarter. We came in with net revenue slightly higher than we expected, and net expenses were slightly lower, so our earnings per share got a bump in the quarter that was greater than what was probably expected,” Chief Financial Officer John Connors said in an interview. Investors sent shares of Microsoft up $4, or 6 percent, to $55-3/4 in after-hours trading. The stock has fallen from its high of $119-15/16 last December. A component of the Dow Jones industrial average, the stock rose 2.6 percent to $51-3/4 in regular trading on Wednesday amid a nearly 115-point drop in the blue-chip index. “I feel like we’re out of the woods with the stock,” McAdams said. “The Street was extremely worried that they were going to downgrade their number” for future earnings. Although Microsoft didn’t lower guidance, it gave typically conservative forecasts for the rest of the year, saying it expected earnings for its full fiscal year to come in “a few pennies higher” than the current consensus analyst estimate of $1.88 per share due to the strong first quarter performance. “It seems likely that revenue will be up in the low teens on a comparable basis, and up in the high teens sequentially. Operating income and EPS (earnings per share) should increase in line with revenue growth,” Connors told financial analysts on a conference call. “If the trends that we see continue, we are on track with our full-year expectations,” Connors said.
Profits were also helped by higher gains on Microsoft’s vast investment portfolio, which earned $1.13 billion in the quarter, compared to $550 million a year earlier. About half of that was from two big transactions: the sale of its electronic billing business TransPoint and the merger of Titus, a Japanese cable television company in which Microsoft had a substantial stake, with a rival, Connors said. Heaping more on the “plus” side of its balance sheet, Microsoft also reported that it had a whopping $24.7 billion in cash or short-term cash equivalents. Microsoft consistently uses investment gains to help it meet profit targets, analysts say. Such gains have increased in recent quarters, coinciding with a lull in the company’s product cycle as it waits for Windows 2000 to gain traction. Connors said both Windows 2000 and the Windows Me operating for home users saw strong sales in the quarter, and, addressing a key worry among analysts, he repeatedly sounded a bullish note on Windows 2000, saying sales were on track to meet internal targets. “The best way to characterize Windows is in this quarter, if you take the client and server and add them together, we had a record quarter. We’re on track with where we hoped Windows 2000 would be,” Connors said. Along with so-called server products such as the SQL Server 2000 database and Exchange 2000 communications software, Windows 2000 forms the cornerstone of Microsoft’s new .NET strategy to weave the Internet into all its products. “You’ve got clear evidence that Windows 2000 is getting traction and that server products are gaining traction,” McAdams said.
SUN POSTS REVENUE SURGE OF 60 PERCENT
San Diego, CALIF. — Sun Microsystems Inc. sailed past Wall Street estimates Wednesday with a stronger-than-expected 60 percent revenue growth that had company officials thumbing their noses at competitors. The Palo Alto, Calif., computer maker reported results several hours earlier than planned after a press release detailing earnings was prematurely posted on the company’s website. The Nasdaq halted trading on Sun stock for almost an hour as a result of the early posting. The company had planned to release results after the bell. Sun reported that net income jumped 85 percent to $510 million, or 30 cents a diluted share, for the first quarter ending Sept. 30, compared with $271 million, or 16 cents a diluted share, which included items, during the same period a year ago. Excluding items, Sun had a profit of 18 cents a share a year ago. Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial had expected earnings of 26 cents a share. The company reported revenues of $5.05 billion, surging 60 percent from the $3.15 billion recorded last year. “Sun’s top-line [revenues] was spectacular,” Clark Yingst, market strategist for Prudential Securities, said.
The company notched 50 percent revenue growth in storage products versus the year before, which the company attributed to sales of is new storage array, the Sun StorEdge T3. During a conference call, Sun executives apologized for the early posting of results, saying that the company was looking into the reason for the mishap and would make sure it didn’t happen again. Buoyed by the numbers, CEO Scott McNealy said he was now more concerned on the impact the global economy, interest rates, and oil prices would have on his company than with competitors IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. “Those are the factors I worry about more than I worry about competitive factors right now,” McNealy said. Michael Lehman, chief financial officer, said the company had revised earlier estimates for the rest of the year because of the stronger-than-expected first quarter, predicting revenue growth in the high 40 percent range for the second quarter and a annual growth rate in the mid-30 percent range. Earnings per share, excluding items, were expected to be at, or slightly less than, the revenue growth rate. Analysts drilled Sun on its gross margin, which was lower than expected due to the cost of memory components. Sun was forced to pay more for memory because of a shortage in the market. “We could have done better on gross margins if we had tried to delay those orders until the next quarter or the quarter after, but then we’d stand the chance of losing the business and getting no gross margins out,” McNealy said. “I’ll take business now at 2 to 4 percent lower gross margins than last quarter.” President and chief operating officer Ed Zander said the company was selling more than three times the number of servers than IBM or HP, taxing suppliers. Lehman said the shortage would continue into the second quarter.
“We still see significant component costs, year-over-year, issues in our memory in Q2,” Lehman said. “That’s still the principal reason that’s driving lower gross margin outlooks for Q2.” Lehman said the shortage was expected to ease in the second half of the year. The executives said Sun was getting more orders from large corporations adding technology to leverage the Internet in reducing costs and adding efficiencies in their supply chain and in their internal business processes. “We’re now a recognized, top-tier Internet infrastructure supplier that’s going to get called in not for just one boutique application, but across the whole spectrum,” Zander said, noting that besides computer hardware, Sun also sells services and e-commerce software. To handle the growth, Sun has added 600 engineers and increased spending in research and development by 37 percent in the first quarter over the same period last year.
SDRAM ROYALTIES PROPEL RAMBUS REVENUES
San Diego, CALIF. — The first royalties from Rambus Inc.’s patent-enforcement effort have kicked in, driving the company’s third-quarter revenues higher than expectations. While the company’s earnings beat estimates, the jump in royalty revenues was especially astonishing: Rambus reported royalty revenue of $19.9 million for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, about triple the $6.6 million in royalties the company reported a quarter earlier. In the past, royalties have been averaging about 20 percent of product revenue, but the company has anticipated that royalties will make up the bulk of the company’s revenue over time. “That happened in a big way,” said Gary Harmon, senior vice-president of finance and chief financial officer. Overall, Rambus, Mountain View, Calif., reported pro-forma net income of $10.2 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with net income of $2.6 million, or 3 cents per share, for the same quarter a year ago.
Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson/First Call Financial expected the company to return earnings of 6 cents per share. Royalty payments are generally considered to be pure profit, Rambus executives said. Over the past quarters, Rambus has embarked on a program to persuade memory and logic makers both to license its patent portfolio, which Rambus says extended to both its Direct Rambus DRAM as well as more commodity-oriented synchronous DRAM. The most recent results included royalties from NEC Corp. While some vendors, including Hitachi Ltd. and Oki Electric Industry Co., and have signed a licensing agreement, others, including Micron Technology Inc., are fighting the claim in court. Litigation costs are expected to average about $1 million per month, executives said. A suit against Siemens chip spinoff Infineon Technologies is expected to be heard in Germany on Dec. 23, and suits against Micron and Hyundai should go to trial in February 2001, said Rambus chief executive Geoff Tate. Under the standard agreement, licensees will pay a per-chip royalty for SDRAM as well as direct Rambus DRAM. Licensees will also pay a higher fee for next-generation double-data-rate SDRAM than the Direct Rambus technology. Since the royalties are paid during the quarter after which the chips are manufactured, Rambus has only now begun to receive payments for the earlier licensing deals.
EMC PROFITS RISE 55 PERCENT
Hopkinton, MASS. — EMC Corp., a data-storage company, said third-quarter earnings rose 55 percent, beating estimates, on strong demand for its software and refrigerator-sized machines that manage and store information. Before the market opened, EMC said it earned $458.2 million, or 20 cents a diluted share, compared with $295.8 million, or 13 cents a diluted share, in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial were looking, on average, for EMC to earn 19 cents a share. Total third-quarter revenues rose 34 percent to $2.28 billion, compared with $1.7 billion in the year-ago period. EMC said its fastest growing market was the Asia Pacific region, where storage revenue grew 130 percent in the third quarter.
EMC holds a nearly 35 percent market share of the fast-growing market for networked storage, outdistancing its nearest rival International Business Machines Corp., which has 22 percent, according to the research firm Dataquest. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, EMC earned $1.2 billion on total revenue of $6.25 billion, the company said. “We undoubtedly gained market share again during the quarter, not only in the overall market for storage but also in each of the market segments we have identified as EMC priorities,” EMC Chief Executive Mike Ruettgers said in a statement. Total storage revenue in the quarter increased 47 percent to $2.14 billion, the highest rate of growth for EMC in more than five years, the company said. Revenue from EMC’s Clariion mid-range storage products increased 40 percent to $165 million.
INTEL BEATS LOWERED TARGETS
New York, N.Y. — Intel Corp. turned in a third-quarter profit of 41 cents per share, exceeding analysts’ recently reduced forecasts following a warning from the semiconductor giant late last month. However, the company provided a revenue growth forecast for the fourth quarter that was well below historic levels for the company. Excluding one-time items, the world’s largest supplier of PC microprocessors said it earned $2.9 billion, or 41 cents per share. That’s up from an operating profit of 28 cents per share during the same period last year and 3 cents better than the 38 cents per share analysts polled by First Call had expected Intel to earn during the most recent quarter. Revenue was $8.7 billion, up 19 percent from last year’s third quarter and 5 percent sequentially. Intel had told analysts its sequential revenue growth would be between 3 and 5 percent when it lowered its forecast last month.
Intel shares rose 50 cents to $36.19 on Nasdaq ahead of the earnings news, which was released after the market closed. When the company pre-announced earnings on Sept. 21, it blamed weak demand in Europe for the revenue shortfall. In its third-quarter earnings release, Intel reported that sales in Europe had risen 22 percent, that’s down slightly from a 26 percent increase during last year’s third quarter and flat with the 22 percent increase in European revenue during the second quarter of this year. Intel said its third-quarter gross profit margin was 63 percent. When the company issued its revised third-quarter guidance, Intel said it expected the gross margin to be about 62 percent, plus or minus 1 percent. Looking ahead, Intel said it expects its fourth-quarter revenue to be up by 4 to 8 percent from the third quarter. The company also said it expects gross margins for the quarter to be 63 percent, plus or minus 1 percent, during the quarter. “We anticipate record revenue in the fourth quarter, with growth across most of our product lines,” Craig R. Barrett, Intel’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Barrett said the company is especially pleased with growth in sales of chips for network servers as well as sales of flash memory chips, which are used widely in portable communications devices and other consumer electronics. Dan Scovel, semiconductor analyst at Needham & Co., said that anything below 10 percent sequential revenue growth in the fourth quarter is “a very weak number.” The value of Intel’s stock has been cut by more than half since the company warned about the third quarter. Adding to the pressure this week were bearish analysts’ comments, some of which suggested that Intel would not only fall shy of its already reduced revenue growth forecast, but that the company also would provide a similarly bleak outlook for the fourth quarter, which historically has been one of the PC industry’s strongest. Analysts also have been growing increasingly cautious about PC microprocessor pricing. With the competitive threat from rival Advanced Micro Devices on the rise and PC market generally weakening, they say profits at both companies could be decimated as they continue to battle for market share. For its part, AMD released its latest financial results last week. At 64 cents per share, the company topped analysts’ profit expectations by 2 cents per share and executives even raised their processor sales target for the year.
IBM’S THIRD QUARTER PROFIT RISES
New York, N.Y. — International Business Machines Corp. reported its third-quarter profit that met expectations, but the world’s largest computer maker’s sales fell below what analysts had hoped for, even as the company posted sales growth for the first time in a year. The Armonk, N.Y.-based company reported third-quarter net income of $2.0 billion, or $1.08 per share, compared with net income of $1.70 billion, or 90 cents, a year ago, excluding certain one-time gains. That met analysts’ consensus estimate of $1.08 per share, as compiled by First Call/Thomson Financial.
Sales rose 3 percent to $21.8 billion, missing analysts’ forecasts for sales of $22.4 billion. A weak euro hurt sales growth by reducing the total amount of revenue when converted back into dollars. Without the currency effect, sales would have risen 6 percent, IBM said. In the third quarter of last year, IBM reported sales of $21.14 billion. Big Blue said in a statement that sales were held back by three things. Chairman and Chief Executive Louis Gerstner in a statement said: “Demand for our microelectronics products…far outstripped our ability to supply components. Second, the upcoming release of our new high-end server slowed demand for our System 390 family of servers. Finally, parts of our software business slowed unexpectedly in September.”
UNIGRAPHICS SOLUTIONS CONSUMMATES TENDER OFFER
St. Louis, MO. — Unigraphics Solutions Inc. announced consummation of the offer by UGS Acquisition Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of UGS, to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Engineering Animation, Inc. at a price of $13.75 net per share. Approximately 10,904,281 shares of EAI common stock were tendered and not withdrawn (including 330,839 shares subject to guarantees of delivery) pursuant to the tender offer, which expired at midnight, Eastern time, on Wednesday, October 11, 2000. Accordingly, the minimum condition of the offer has been met. These shares represent approximately 90% of the currently outstanding shares of EAI common stock. The tendered shares (other than those subject to guarantee of delivery) have been purchased in accordance with the terms of the offer. Payment for the shares purchased will be made promptly by UGS through First Chicago Trust Company of New York, the exchange agent for the tender offer. A subsequent offering period has not been included. In accordance with the merger agreement among UGS, UGS Acquisition Corporation and EAI, UGS intends to effect a merger as soon as practicable pursuant to which EAI will become a wholly owned subsidiary of UGS and all remaining EAI shareholders (other than UGS and its subsidiary) will have the right to receive the $13.75 net per share price paid in the tender offer.
Unigraphics Solutions Inc. is focused on improving the entire product life cycle for design and manufacturing companies through the delivery of software and consulting service solutions that address process and productivity enhancements. Its CAD/CAM/CAE, product content management, CAID and e-Business solutions are designed to promote collaborative product commerce (CPC) through incorporation of today’s most advanced technology and intelligent use of the Internet. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, UGS has been providing software solutions to engineering and manufacturing companies for over 25 years and is the first company in its industry to earn the ISO 9001/TickIT certification. Please contact UGS via the World Wide Web at http://www.ugsolutions.com .
BROADBASE SOFTWARE ANNOUNCES RECORD REVENUE
Menlo Park, CALIF. — Broadbase Software, Inc., a leading provider of customer-focused analytic and marketing automation applications, announced record revenue for the quarter ended September 30, 2000. Revenues for the third quarter marked the largest quarter in Broadbase’s history at $14.3 million, up 418% over the quarter ended September 30, 1999 and 38% over the quarter ended June 30, 2000. Net loss for the quarter on a GAAP basis was $38.2 million or a loss of $ 0.80 per share, compared to a loss of $0.85 per share for the quarter ended September 30, 1999 and a loss of $0.67 per share for the quarter ended June 30, 2000. Excluding the amortization of stock-based compensation and costs and expenses associated with acquisitions, net loss for the quarter ended September 30, 2000 was $3.2 million or a loss of $0.07 per share, compared to $0.60 per share for the quarter ended September 30, 1999 and $0.09 per share for the quarter ended June 30, 2000. Net loss for the nine months ended September 30, 2000 on a GAAP basis was $106.3 million or a loss of $2.39 per share, compared to $3.40 per share for the nine months ended September 30, 1999. All per share information presented herein reflects the April 2000 two-for-one split of Broadbase’s common stock.
Commenting on the results, Chief Executive Officer Chuck Bay said, “From our start, we’ve maintained an unparalleled commitment to our customers’ success. We continue to focus on developing best-in-class products, rapidly integrating acquired technologies, and providing outstanding customer service. During this landmark quarter, we significantly increased revenues, initiated numerous high-value partnerships, added a substantial number of new customers to our rapidly growing customer portfolio, and changed the landscape of eCRM through our pending acquisition of Servicesoft.”
HTTP TECHNOLOGY RAISES $30 MILLION
London, ENGLAND — HTTP Technology, Inc. announced it has closed its $30 million private placement. The offer of 2.4 million restricted shares was significantly oversubscribed. The company will use the proceeds to further develop its data-classification engine for which patents were filed in September 2000. “This recent round of funding ensures that HTTP is properly capitalized to commercialize a number of software systems from its proprietary technology,” said Stefan Allesch-Taylor, president and CEO. “HTTP is debt free, has over $30 million in cash and over $70 million of investments, with total assets exceeding $130 million. We are now in an excellent position to focus on developing software systems from our data-classification engine.”
HTTP technology, Inc., a U.S. company based in London, develops software systems based on a proprietary data-classification engine. This technology can be applied to a number of fields such as medical imaging, data compression, and artificial intelligence and over twenty other technology sectors. It has filed for listing on the NASDAQ National Market.
EXABYTE ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER RESULTS
Boulder, COLO. — Exabyte Corporation, a leader in performance network backup systems, reported revenue for the third quarter of 2000 of $60,100,000, representing a 13 percent increase from $53,041,000 for the third quarter of 1999 and a 17 percent sequential increase from $51,314,000 for the second quarter of 2000. For the third quarter of 2000, Exabyte reported a loss of $13,305,000 or $0.59 per share representing a significant reduction from the loss of $17,503,000 or $0.78 per share for the third quarter of 1999. Included in the loss for the third quarter of 2000 were restructuring charges of $5,799,000 or $0.26 per share related to the transfer of M2 scanner production from Exabyte Magnetics Germany to Hitachi in Japan. Included in the results for the third quarter of 1999 were $2,446,000 or $0.11 of restructuring charges related to a reduction in the worldwide workforce.
Without the impact of restructuring charges, the loss from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2000 was $7,506,000 or $0.33 per share, compared with a loss of $15,058,000 or $0.68 per share for the third quarter of 1999. This also represented a significant reduction from the loss incurred in the second quarter of 2000 of $9,636,000 or $0.43 per share. “We were very pleased again this quarter with the progress made toward restoring the company to revenue growth and profitability,” stated Bill Marriner, Exabyte’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our total revenue was at a six-quarter high and we recorded significant sequential gains in all three of our major lines of business – drives, automated tape libraries and media. Both M2 drives and M2 automated libraries continued to gain market acceptance and market share.” For the first time in Exabyte’s history, library sales nearly equaled drive sales and represented 35 percent of revenue for the third quarter. Commented Marriner, “Following 41 percent sequential growth in library sales in the second quarter, this business segment grew by another 28 percent in the third quarter. Particularly strong were the sales of EZ-17 autoloaders, which incorporate M2 drive technology. We further enhanced the M2 automation lineup with initial revenue shipments of the 430 product in September. This new product is extremely rack dense, is competitive in price and performance and was recently announced by IBM for shipment with their RS6000 servers. “We believe the automation market represents an excellent opportunity for growth and that we are well positioned to gain share in this area,” continued Marriner. “As such, we are planning to invest significantly in the development of additional automation products and the necessary support infrastructure as we move forward.”
LANE ADDED TO LIST OF INVESTORS IN PROPEL
San Jose, CALIF. — Propel announced the completion of a $38.3 Series B round of funding with the addition of several new high-profile investors, including former Oracle COO Ray Lane, Ohana Holdings on behalf of Pierre Omidyar, eBay’s chairman and founder, and Frank Quattrone, managing director and head of Credit Suisse First Boston Technology Group. This additional funding from technology and business leaders validates Propel’s potential to become a leader in the Internet infrastructure market and will allow the company to capitalize on the enormous market opportunities available. Lane joins Propel’s already impressive Series B roster, which includes Marc Andreessen, Colin Powell, Meg Whitman, Alfred Chuang of BEA Systems, Zero Gravity Venture Partners, MSD Capital LP, the private investment firm for Michael Dell, and Eric Greenberg, Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of 12 Entrepreneuring, Inc. and founder of leading Internet companies Scient, Viant, and RSA Security Inc.
“This additional funding from business and technology leaders represents a continued commitment to Propel’s vision of powerful, user-friendly e-commerce,” said Kirsch. “The incredible support we have received from such noteworthy and influential investors will enable additional development activities, partnering strategies, and sales and marketing programs.” Furthermore, as customer retention continues to be a primary concern for the e-commerce industry, Propel’s software will provide users with an intuitive, fast interface that makes it easy to buy and to ultimately become a repeat customer.
PTC REPORTS YEAR-END RESULTS
Waltham, MASS. — PTC reported revenue totaling $235.0 million for the fourth quarter ended September 30, 2000, compared to $280.1 million for the same period last year. Pro forma net income for the quarter, which excludes the amortization of intangible assets, was $13.7 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, compared to $50.7 million and $0.18 per diluted share, for the year-ago period. Including the amortization of intangible assets, net income was $6.9 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, compared with $43.3 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, for the same period in fiscal 1999.
For the fiscal year, revenue totaled $928.4 million, compared to $1,057.6 million for fiscal 1999. Pro forma net income, which excludes both the impact of nonrecurring charges and the amortization of intangible assets, was $38.9 million or $.14 per diluted share, compared to $184.4 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, last fiscal year. Net loss was $(4.0) million, or $(0.01) per diluted share, compared to net income of $119.3 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, last year. C. Richard Harrison, president and chief executive officer, said: “We finished the second half of the year on a solid note and are pleased with the fourth quarter. Revenue and profits have improved sequentially on a quarterly basis and we continue to expand our relationships with key partners. Meanwhile, customers understand and value highly the competitive advantage they receive through the ability to collaborate, design and speed innovative products to market. PTC is strongly committed to leadership in the important collaborative product commerce (CPC) market by leveraging our technology leadership and domain expertise in the mechanical product design and manufacturing marketplace.” The company continues to see significant growth in the CPC market. Total Windchill revenue in the quarter was $51.6 million, as compared to $40.2 million a year ago. Windchill revenue for the year was $174.7 million as compared to $81.3 million last year, an increase of 115% percent year over year. In the fourth quarter specifically, PTC received large orders for Windchill from Lockheed-Martin, Ingersoll-Rand, KLA-Tencor and Marconi. “With Windchill, PTC is leading the CPC marketplace. Windchill revenue has continued to accelerate and the solution represents a solid growth engine for PTC,” commented Harrison. Visit http://www.ptc.com for more information.