Strong sales of software licenses helped Tibco ( TIBX) boost second-quarter revenue by nearly 20% and beat bottom-line expectations.

Tibco, which sells complex software used to integrate diverse applications, earned a profit of $24.5 million, or 11 cents a share, compared with $21.7 million, or 10 cents a share, last year. Total revenue for the quarter was $121.2 million, compared with $101.4 million in the same quarter in fiscal 2005.

Excluding expenses related to stock options -- deducted for the first time -- and other items, as well as a $15 million tax credit, the company earned 8 cents a share, compared with 4 cents a share last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting EPS of 6 cents on sales of $117.9 million.

Tibco had a strong second half in 2005, and investors are concerned that the company won't be able to surpass the tough comparisons in 2006. Those worries are at least partially responsible for the stock's slide; it has lost about 20% of its value since the beginning of May.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq is only off by 5%, while the Goldman Sachs Software Index is off 9% and rival BEA Systems ( BEAS) is flat for the same period.

Thursday's upside surprise pleased investors; in after-hours trading on Instinet, shares were up 41 cents, or 5.9%, to $7.45.

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