Updated from 4:04 p.m. EDT

After delivering a fourth-quarter upside Tuesday,


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said its top line would do the same in the current period.

"The pipelines look fantastic," for the first fiscal quarter of 2008, said President and CFO Safra Catz in a conference call late Tuesday. "We're expecting our largest Q1 ever."

Oracle forecast first-quarter revenue growth of 19% to 21% above the prior year, or 18% to 21% excluding items, suggesting revenue of $4.31 billion to $4.42 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting revenue of $4.12 billion.

Katz said first-quarter EPS is projected at 15 cents, up from 13 cents for the first quarter of 2006. Excluding items, the company said it expects to earn 21 cents a share, matching analysts' estimates, up from 18 cents a share a year earlier.

The stock was recently up 13 cents, or 0.7%, to $19.29 in after-hours trading.

Oracle impressed in its latest earnings report, coming in 2 cents ahead of analysts' expectations and also topping the Street on revenue.

The Redwood City, Calif., enterprise software company reported EPS of 31 cents and net income of $1.6 billion.

Oracle said revenue for the quarter was $5.8 billion, 20% above $4.9 billion in the same period of 2006. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call forecast revenue of $5.6 billion.

Excluding items, the company reported EPS of 37 cents, up from 29 cents a year ago and beating the consensus estimate of 35 cents. Net income was $1.9 billion, compared with analysts' projections of $1.8 billion.

The company completed $4 billion worth of stock buybacks during the year, one-quarter of which occurred in the last period, Catz said.

The company plans to add several new features to its database software in the new fiscal year, CEO Larry Ellison said. Database 11g software is due out July 11.

Oracle's new application software sales grew 32% from a year ago, compared with 10% at


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, according to Oracle President Charles Phillips.

Total new software license revenue grew 21% on a constant-currency basis.

The company's recent acquisition, business intelligence software maker Hyperion, added $43 million to Oracle's new license revenue in the quarter, Catz said.

Ellison said he expects the acquisition pace to continue: "We're going to expand the number of vertical applications through acquisition."

More stock buybacks and acquisitions will be enabled by the company's strong cash flow position of $1.05 a share, Ellison said.

Oracle's vertical application software gets it in the door at businesses that previously weren't interested in Oracle, Ellison said. "The biggest example is our relationship with


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," which had historically bought little from the software maker. "Our retail vertical got us into Wal-Mart," and Oracle has since sold it other applications, including a new deal signed in the fourth quarter.

Executives mentioned new deals at

Eli Lilly

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, China Mobile, Telecom Italia, Motorola and City University of New York. Other universities had been watching CUNY's long decision process, Phillips said. "This is going to help us going forward."


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deployed Oracle's service-oriented architecture suite, he said.

Catz said the company was taking market share from SAP,

BEA Systems




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For customers of acquired software makers, Oracle is proving it will support software tied to SAP, Phillips said. "Not only don't we mind integrating SAP, we want to be good at it."

Those customers continue to use SAP's supply chain software "and Oracle for everything else," Ellison said. "We're able to sell new applications to customers who were on the SAP side ... and wouldn't talk to us before."

Acquisition-related expenses cost the company $74 million in the quarter and $140 million for the year, compared with $137 for all of 2006. The company factored in a $51.5 million acquisition-expense benefit in the year just ended, after it settled a preacquisition lawsuit that had been filed against PeopleSoft.

Oracle's E-Business Suite of modular software is the company's fastest-growing product, says Michael Fauscette, vice president of the software application research group at IDC. Oracle is a client of IDC.

Oracle's modular middleware is getting good traction from cross-selling products to the customer bases of the many companies it has bought in recent years, including business intelligence software maker Hyperion in March, Fauscette said.

And customers have "started to pick up on" the company's "apps unlimited" message, in which Oracle announced that it would continue enhancing acquired software lines: JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and Siebel. Customers had been skeptical of it when the plan was announced in early 2006, Fauscette said.