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Sun, Unisys head pack of encouraging results

Lucky old Sun's gaining market share from HP and IBM

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Sun shares rose 4 per cent on net income up 5 per cent to $114 million, giving 29 cents/share earnings, 2 cents up on the year earlier, and twice what financial analysts had expected. Revenue growth was 19 per cent. Sun showed it was gaining market share from HP and IBM. A new 64-bit version of Solaris is expected on 27 October, which should give Sun a two-year lead over 64-bit NT. Michael Lehrman, the CFO, reported that the order book was better than for the quarter just reported. Currency fluctuations impacted revenue negatively by 2 or 3 percent. The document management sector has taken a bruising on the expectation that financial markets and Y2K uncertainty would slow expenditure in tackling the 80 per cent of company information that is still not computerised. In the past month, Filenet has fallen 71 percent, Documentum 45 per cent, and PCDocs 34 per cent. However, yesterday, Documentum put back 32 per cent of this fall after its Q3 showed eps at 19 cents, ahead of estimates of 17 cents, and ignoring costs associated with a merger with Relevance. Unisys income for its Q3 rose to $96 million from $51 million a year ago, with profits doubling to 26 cents/share. Around two-thirds of Unisys' revenue is now from the services sector, including acting as a software house for major corporations. Lawrence Weinback, the CEO who took over last year, has reduced debt by $1 billion, exited the PC manufacturing business, and bet its future on Wintel. The shares went up 9 percent. Rational produced some good results, sending its shares up 22 per cent. The 14 cents/share beat the financial analysts by 2 cents. Revenue was up 26 per cent to $95 million, compared with $75 million a year earlier. Excite fell 6 per cent after trading closed, despite reporting Q3 earnings of 2 cents/share, 4 cents up on financial analysts' expectations. Revenue was $44 million, up from $16 million a year ago. The challenge is to make a profit from its $86 million ($70 million cash) co-branded services and revenue sharing arrangement with Netscape. The $57 million upfront cash that Excite recognised in its second quarter will now be amortised, by agreement with the SEC. Boole and Babbage pre-announced its Q4 at 34 cents/share, up from 24 cents a year earlier, and rose 7 per cent. USWeb rose 22 per cent after its results. ® Click for more stories

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