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Compuware sees 1Q shortfall

    This week's profit warnings from BMC Software (Nasdaq: BMCS) and Computer Associates (NYSE: CA) left only one major independent vendor of mainframe software untouched by the earnings preannouncement wave.

    Now there are none unscathed.

    On Friday afternoon, Compuware (Nasdaq: CPWR) joined BMC and CA in telling investors to lower their expectations for the quarter ended June 30. Compuware said it expects to report a fiscal first quarter profit ranging between 7 and 9 cents per share, on revenue of $490 million to $510 million.

    First Call's survey of 14 analysts predicted a first quarter profit of 15 cents per share for Compuware.

    Shares of Compuware fell to 9, down 1 1/4 for the regular session, following the profit warning.

    Like BMC and CA, Compuware blamed the shortfall largely on a failure to close several sizable software deals in the quarter, as expected. Enterprise software vendors normally sign the majority of their sales contracts near the end of a quarter.

    "We are very disappointed with our software sales results," said Beth Chappell, Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations. "In spite of our best efforts to work closely with the investment community to set reasonable and attainable expectations for the quarter, the softness of the market had a significant impact on our results."

    Software license fees generated between $120 million and $130 million. Maintenance revenue came in $115 million. Services -- the one area that was met Compuware's expectations -- saw revenue ranging between $255 million to $265 million.

    BMC and CA blamed at least some of their weakness on recently slowing demand for mainframes as customers await the next System 390 models from IBM (NYSE: IBM). But Friday's announcement was merely the latest disappointment from Compuware, which already let down investors in the fourth quarter.>