Salesforce posts strong Q3 earnings, beats Street

The CRM and cloud computing giant delivered quarterly revenue of $788 million -- up 35 percent from this time last year.

CEO Marc Benioff speaks at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference in September. James Martin/CNET

Aiming to be the first cloud computing company to hit a $4 billion annual run rate, Salesforce.com is on the right track as it beat Wall Street expectations for the third quarter.

The social enterprise giant reported a third quarter net loss of $220 million, or $1.55 per share (statement). Non-GAAP earnings were 33 cents a share on a revenue of $788 million, up 35 percent annually.

Wall Street was expecting Salesforce to report third-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of $776.5 million.

But Salesforce seems interested in discussing future quarters, as CEO Marc Benioff commented about in prepared remarks:

Salesforce.com is the first enterprise cloud computing company to exceed a $3 billion annual revenue run rate, with outstanding third quarter revenue growth at 35% in dollars and 37 percent in constant currency. Given the strong customer response to our next generation social and mobile cloud technologies, I'm delighted to announce that we expect to surpass a $4 billion annual revenue run rate during our fiscal year 2014.

During the conference call with investors and analysts on Tuesday afternoon, Benioff maintained a very optimistic front and boasted that as one of the small number of companies in the software industry to ever achieve the $3 billion run rate milestone, it marks a major shift towards mobile and social adoption in the enterprise.

"Salesforce.com is the customer company. No other software company has defined itself this way before," Benioff asserted.

The company's co-founder also cited that Salesforce delivered more than 66 billion transactions during the quarter -- up 65 percent annually -- and that executives are expecting to surpass one billion transactions within a single day "any moment now."

For the outlook, Salesforce is predicting a revenue of $825 million to $830 million at the end of Q4 with non-GAAP earnings between 38 to 40 cents a share.

For the fourth quarter, Wall Street is expecting earnings of 40 cents a share on revenue of $829.9 million.

zdnet-salesforce-q3-2012

For fiscal year 2013 overall, Salesforce has raised its guidance to deliver revenue within the range of $3.041 billion to $3.046 billion -- an increase of 34 percent year-over-year -- with non-GAAP earnings of $1.50 to $1.52 per share.

Looking even farther down the road, Salesforce posted its guidance for the fiscal year 2014, with revenue projected to be in the range of $3.80 billion to $3.85 billion.

Earnings per share, however, won't be revealed until Salesforce reveals its fourth quarter fiscal year 2013 results in February 2013.

By the numbers:

  • Subscription and support revenues: $741 million, up 35 percent annually
  • Professional services and other revenues:$48 million, up 36 percent annually
This story was first published as "Salesforce posts solid Q3 revenue; looks toward $4B annual run rate" at ZDNet's Between the Lines.
 

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