TIBCO 1Q09 earnings (part 2)

Last week I was speculating on TIBCO’s 1Q09 results and its challenges in 2009, and of course the final results have now been released.

I have had a lot of interest in the original post and requests to do a follow-up once the figures were out, so here we go. However, please remember that these are only my personal opinions – I am a market expert, not a financial one!

Revenue declined 9% year on year, although perhaps half of this decline might have been currency fluctuations, and through smart cost cutting measures TIBCO has actually improved profitability. However, from my perspective the most important information was that new license revenue fell to 44.8M from $57.7M in the same quarter the previous year – a 22% fall. Services and maintenance was flat at $88M.

The fall in new licenses is quite dramatic, and certainly not attributable to currency. Of course, this may reflect the generally poorer conditions, but it will now be extremely interesting to see how some of the other SOA and BPM players do in their first quarters – for example, I was discussing Pegasystems yesterday, and in 2008 it showed a 50% increase in new license revenue – it largely sells BPM software. Its 1Q09 results will be an interesting yardstick for these TIBCO results.

TIBCO is proving to be very reliant on its messaging / SOA products, only 21% of revenue coming from its business optimization segment, and that shows how dependent it is on its traditional strength in messaging, but as I said last week this area is coming under threat and has forced TIBCO to adopt an appliance approach to try to defend its position. However in the 1Q09 period TIBCO says it did not make any major appliance sales. Anyway, although I am not familiar with TIBCO’s commercial arrangement with Solace Systems, its partner in the appliance deal, I have to believe that TIBCO will no longer be able to count on all of the revenue stream from the appliance. I can see no alternative but for this segment of TIBCO’s business to fall. it is not surprising that TIBCO is desperately trying to broaden its industry vertical coverage as fast as it can.

Apparently the company is actively looking to make more acquisitions. This could either be to fill in gaps in its overall solution, as its management claims, or could it be to provide non-organic revenue growth to bolster its figures?

I have to confess that personally these results have left me feeling a bit queasy about TIBCO’s future. We should know more when we see some of the other 1Q09 performances in the SOA space, but I did not see anything to make me think TIBCO is surging back…


Posted in Earnings, Financial Services, Imported, Industry trends, SOA, Tibco, Vendor news.

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