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SAP happy enough, despite lack of massive lawsuit win this year

McDermott boasts of huge bulge into the cloud

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German software maker SAP reported a massive plunge in Q3 profits but an operational slip was not to blame, just a one-off gain from its lawsuit with Oracle a year ago.

This still left the vendor with a bottom line of €618m, albeit 51 per cent lower than the €1.25bn ($1.62bn) it banked 12 months ago when earnings were boosted €566m ($723m) by a judge reducing damages in a lawsuit brought by Oracle.

The positive momentum in sales seen last quarter continued with turnover up 16 per cent year-on-year to €3.95bn, fuelled by operations in the Americas and Asia Pacific, up 37 and 18 per cent respectively, which offset flat European revenues.

Software licensing went up 17 per cent to €1.02bn, and support grew 16 per cent to €2.1bn, but the "innovation" hotspots for SAP that will become a bigger part of its future did well too.

The in-memory database tech HANA grew to €83m, up from €34m; mobile application extensions reached €48m; and cloudy support and subscriptions hit €80m up from €4m.

Co-CEO Bill McDermott claimed on a conference call with analysts that "we have tremendous growth in the cloud".

In fact SAP forecasted bullishly that it would be the first vendor in the cloud to turn a profit, with €2bn annually earmarked from 2015, compared to the losses the unit is generating today.

SAP raised 2012 revenue outlook, saying sales will reach the upper end of its 10.5 to 12.5 per cent forecast, due in part to the recent acquisition of Ariba.

The legal spat with Larry Ellison's army arose after Oracle sued former SAP sub TomorrowNow over copyright infringement, initially resulting in damages of $1.3bn.

A judge later overturned that decision and told Larry that his firm could have $306m in damages plus legal costs. It emerged last month that Oracle is pushing for higher damages. ®

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