Earnings fell sharply in MicroStrategy's ( MSTR) third quarter due to a large tax-related gain in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 9% from a year ago, but license revenue in the quarter fell 12%.

The business software company earned $13.3 million, or 91 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $122 million, or $7.60 a share, last year. Earnings in the latest quarter were cut by 21 cents a share by the tax treatment of repatriated overseas earnings. The 2004 quarter had a $103 million tax-related gain.

Third-quarter revenue was $65.8 million, up from $60.6 million a year ago. License revenue was $22.6 million in the latest quarter compared with $25.8 million a year ago, while support and services revenue was $43.2 million in the latest quarter, compared with $34.9 million last year.

Analysts were forecasting revenue of $66.3 million in the latest quarter.

"MicroStrategy continued to achieve strong operating leverage across all lines of business as our operating margin rose to 35% during the third quarter of 2005," the company said.

The shares lost $5.63, or 7.6%, to $68.95 after hours.

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