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Network Appliance earnings beat expectations

The maker of specialized servers reports quarterly profits of 11 cents a share today, edging a penny past analyst expectations.

Specialized server maker Network Appliance reported quarterly profits of 11 cents a share today, edging a penny past analyst expectations.

Network Appliance, which makes specialized high-speed server computers used to store files and to speed up Internet access, also announced a two-for-one stock split scheduled for March 22. The company's stock has been moving steadily upward over the last three months, more than tripling in price from less than $50 to today's closing price of $151.56.

The company had revenues of $151.3 million in the third quarter, double the $75.6 million the same quarter last year. Net income of $19.8 million was more than double the $9.4 million net income of the same quarter the previous year.

The company attributed the results to the growth of companies building Internet sites. "NetApp's business growth...was primarily driven by the strength of e-business infrastructure deployments, which now represent over one third of our business," chief executive Dan Warmenhoven said in a statement. The company won deals at General Motors, Merrill Lynch and Palm Computing.

The company was one of the first to enter the specialized "server appliance" market, and has been carried along in the increasing popularity of the product philosophy. Advocates argue that server appliances are less expensive, more powerful, or easier to use than their general-purpose server brethren.

This quarter, Network Appliance introduced a version of its server that can help to send out streams of audio and video information. The server can send the information encoded either with RealNetworks' RealSystem G2 format, Apple's Quicktime format or Microsoft's Windows Media format.