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Updated from June 22


(ORCL) - Get Oracle Corporation Report

delivered the strong fourth quarter it telegraphed last week, boosting revenue by 25% and net income by 27% year over year.

"Q4 was a great quarter with gains in market share across the board," CEO Larry Ellison said during an upbeat call with analysts after the market closed on Thursday. Ellison and other executives said the company gained share from its three major rivals --


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on the applications front,


(IBM) - Get International Business Machines Corporation Report

in databases and

BEA Systems


in so-called middleware.

Earnings guidance for the first quarter was in line with Wall Street's expectations, while revenue guidance was a bit better than expected.

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Investor reaction on Friday was positive, giving the stock a bump of 45 cents, or 3.1%, to $14.78.

For the fourth quarter, the database giant posted a profit of $1.3 billion, or 24 cents a share, compared with $1.02 billion, or 20 cents a share last year.

Total revenue in the quarter was $4.85 billion, up from $3.88 billion.

Non-GAAP earnings per share was 29 cents. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had forecast a 28-cent-a-share profit on revenue of $4.7 billion.

The results were largely expected, since Oracle

preannounced its upside surprise last Thursday. Because the preannouncement was so close to the earnings date, the First Call numbers did not include the information released last week.

The first reaction to the actual earnings news was mildly negative, but the stock gained strength as CFO Safra Catz announced first-quarter guidance during the conference call.

The fourth quarter is generally Oracle's strongest, but the strength of the top line was nonetheless a surprise. Total revenue grew 25%, while earlier guidance had called for an increase ranging from 13% to 17%.

In particular, the strong organic growth in the company's applications software business was seen as something of a validation of the company aggressive acquisition strategy.

New software license revenue increased 32% to $2.12 billion, while database technology license revenue grew by 18%. Software applications license revenue grew by 56% on an organic basis, which excludes sales generated by the former Siebel Systems and Retek, both of which are now owned by Oracle.

Sales generated by Siebel totaled $81 million in the quarter, about twice what Oracle had expected, Catz said.

Looking to the seasonally slower first quarter, Catz said the company will likely post a non-GAAP profit of 16 cents a share, equal to consensus, and grow revenue by 22% to 24% year over year. Analysts were expecting growth of about 21% to $3.36 billion.

Although Oracle claimed to win share from BEA in middleware, it still lags far behind in total middleware sales, as measured in a recent report by market researcher Gartner. BEA led the $1.8 billion-application server market in 2005 with a market share of just under 34%, according to Gartner. Oracle was not ranked in the top five, trailing even the much smaller

Borland Software


, which had a market share of 2.8%.