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reported a fourth-quarter loss that was considerably narrower than analysts were expecting.

The company said it lost $24.9 million, or 31 cents a share, excluding certain charges. Analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

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were calling for a loss of 40 cents a share. MicroStrategy lost $14 million, or 18 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

The business software provider, which is based in Vienna, Va., said revenue increased 26% to $58.1 million from $46.2 million in the same period last year.

"We believe we are well on our way toward achieving our financial goal of becoming profitable in our core business by Q4 2001," the company said in a statement. "For the year 2001, our priorities are clear: profitability, market share and revenue growth, in that order."

For 2001, the company expects that total consolidated revenue will increase by 30% from $223.9 million in 2000. Excluding

, a majority-owned unit of MicroStrategy, the company expects full-year revenue growth of 24% to 28%. The company also forecast that the core MicroStrategy business will break even on an operating basis, excluding goodwill amortization and other nonrecurring items, by the fourth quarter of 2001.