Oracle's Troubles Are No Problem for This Data-Crunching Rival

On Tuesday night, Oracle (NAS: ORCL) treated investors to a massive shock. The rock-steady database giant doesn't miss earning estimates. It just doesn't. But this quarter, it did.

The shock spread far beyond Oracle itself. This event could only happen if enterprise software was suffering across the board, right? So, bellwether stocks IBM (NYS: IBM) and Cisco Systems (NAS: CSCO) fell about 3% while smaller, more volatile shares moved even further down. TIBCO Software (NAS: TIBX) , for example, lost as much as 13%.

And that's where TIBCO's own fourth-quarter report comes in. Whatever's ailing Oracle did not affect TIBCO at all.

Analysts wanted to see non-GAAP earnings of $0.35 per share on sales of about $281 million. The company delivered profits of $0.42 per share on $290 million in revenue. For the coming quarter, management laid out earnings guidance right in line with Street targets, but with an unexpectedly strong sales forecast.

CEO Vivek Ranadive underscored just how much Oracle's weakness really isn't affecting his company: "We're not seeing that softness that everyone is talking about, but in some ways that actually ends up helping us. Because again, people would rather put in our [information] bus and our [business process management] and our business eventing, against putting in a big iron, big database, big [enterprise resource planning] solution."

In short, TIBCO is winning in a weak economy thanks to innovative products that give customers a business advantage. Oracle is on the losing end of that equation.

The bigger picture may still be the same -- IBM and Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) will either reinforce or debunk the idea of a soft enterprise software market in just a couple of weeks. But we have a couple of data points here from TIBCO and Linux vendorRed Hat (NYS: RHT) that show how a sinking tide doesn't necessarily capsize all boats.

TIBCO is one enterprise-computing arrow in our Stcok Advisor newsletter's quiver. Check out another Big Data idea for 2012 and beyond from our finest analysts.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Oracle, Microsoft, Cisco, and IBM, and has created a bull call spread position on Cisco. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of TIBCO, Microsoft, and Cisco. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Check out Anders' holdings and bio, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. We have a disclosure policy.

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