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SAP Sparks Fear

Commenting on the miss, ICAP chief software analyst Richard Williams wrote: "SAP missed by 8.54% in licenses in 2Q, which is a surprisingly large miss, especially for such a juggernaut of a software player. The comments from many different sources recently explaining that deals slipped or customers deferred signings left us with chills. The eerie resemblance with prior periods of major blowups is just too similar for comfort."

Goldman Sachs analyst Rick Sherlund called the license miss "disappointing," but was much less pessimistic than Williams. "This is likely more of a bump in the road vs. any real change in fundamentals. We believe the overall health of the enterprise applications markets remains favorable, with Oracle reporting strong growth in applications and SAP reiterating expectations for 15%-17% license growth for the full year," he said in a note to clients.

Sherlund also said that the company's pro forma EPS of 1.41 euros beat his estimate of 1.17 euros, "as it appears the company was able to more than offset weaker license revenue with lower costs."

Goldman Sachs has an investment banking relationship with SAP; ICAP does not.

Revenue for the 2006 second quarter is expected to be approximately 2.20 billion euros ($2.78 billion), which represents an increase of 9% compared to the 2005 second quarter, the company said.

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