Updated from 5:20 p.m. EDT

Strong sales of antivirus software to consumers drove a 14% increase in total revenue for McAfee ( MFE), but earnings dropped sharply against a tough year-over-year comparison.

The company earned a profit of $23 million, or 13 cents a diluted share, McAfee reported after the bell Thursday. Last year, the company posted a profit of $118 million, or 70 cents a share.

But last year's big bottom line was fattened by a one-time gain of $187 million generated primarily from the sale of the company's Sniffer business.

Total revenue in the September quarter was $253 million, compared with $221.6 million a year ago.

Excluding items, EPS was $63 million, or 37 cents per diluted share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for a 29-cent profit on the same basis with revenue of $240.2 million.

Consumer revenue in the September quarter grew 26% year over year to $116 million. Revenue from online consumer services grew by 55% as the company added 1.9 million net new subscribers.

If revenue from sold-off businesses -- Sniffer, Magic, and McAfee Research -- is excluded, sales grew by 20% year over year. Sniffer and Magic were sold in 2004, McAfee Research in April of this year.

Shares of Santa Clara-based McAfee dipped on the news and are now flat at $30.66.

For the fourth quarter, McAfee expects net revenue in the range of $255 million to $280 million and non-GAAP earnings of 33 cents to 39 cents a share. Analysts were projecting a 37-cent profit on sales of $271.8 million.

McAfee also issued preliminary guidance for 2006, saying it expects net revenue to range from $1.15 billion and $1.25 billion, representing growth of 20% at the midrange. Non-GAAP earnings per share will fall between $1.35 and $1.50.

Analysts were projecting a profit of $1.38 a share on revenue of $1.1 billion.

More from Technology

50 Stocks That Could Be Shredded If a U.S. Trade War With China Ignites

50 Stocks That Could Be Shredded If a U.S. Trade War With China Ignites

Trump Puts Tech in Trade War Crosshairs With Planned Curb on China Investment

Trump Puts Tech in Trade War Crosshairs With Planned Curb on China Investment

These 5 Tech Giants Still Aren't That Expensive

These 5 Tech Giants Still Aren't That Expensive

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich's Ouster Proves CEOs Aren't Above the Rules

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich's Ouster Proves CEOs Aren't Above the Rules

Amazon, Microsoft and Google Face Backlash over ICE, Military Deals

Amazon, Microsoft and Google Face Backlash over ICE, Military Deals