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NetApp shares fall on downbeat forecast

Q4 revs up, earnings flat

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Despite reinventing itself with a "bold blue" new brand identity this quarter, NetApp's net income was practically flat in Q4 2008.

Investors say: awww.

But the storage vendor's revenue rose a healthy 17 per cent year-over-year, beating some market estimates.

Investors say: eh?

Not so fast — NetApp's forecast for next quarter is below expectations.

Investors say: bleh. As of this publication, NetApp's stock price has dropped 11.05 per cent. Thus is the fickle finger of financial fate.

Let's go to the scoreboard: NetApp's adjusted net income for its fiscal quarter (ended April 25) rose less than one per cent, at $89.9m compared with $89.6m the same period last year.

Revenues for the quarter rose 17 per cent to $938m from $801m year-over-year.

For the full fiscal year, net income rose four per cent to $309.7m, compared with $297.7m in 2007. Adjusted revenues totaled $3.3bn, a rise of 18 per cent compared to $2.8bn last year.

Not a terrible showing, then. NetApp also saw 23 per cent growth in storage systems. What spooked late trading investors was its guidance for the current quarter.

NetApp expects revenue in the range of $845m to $875m. The company also reiterated its guidance for fiscal 2009 revenue as between $3.79bn and $3.95.

NetApp has lately been trying to reduce its dependence on financial services firms, which have been spending less on storage than the vendor would prefer due to the US credit crisis. That's got some tech investors on tenterhooks — and has made some rather easy to scare. ®

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