Salesforce impresses investors with strong Q1, raises full-year revenue guidance

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Marc Benioff Salesforce
Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO. (Courtesy: Salesforce)

Salesforce enjoyed a nice first quarter of 2017, beating analyst expectations for both revenue and profit while raising guidance for the full year.

The salesforce-management cloud software company took in $2.39 billion in revenue during the quarter, up 25 percent from the same period a year ago. Salesforce swung to a net loss of $9 million during the quarter, but net income excluding stock based compensation was $0.28 a share. Financial analysts were expecting revenue of $2.35 billion and adjusted net income of $0.26, according to Marketwatch, and investors sent the company’s shares up in after-hours trading.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff delivered one of his usual performances in response to financial analyst questions following the release of the results, including a stream-of-consciousness speech on why artificial intelligence is going to be the next big platform upon which businesses are built (with several plugs for its Einstein technology) and a snappy quote about competitors Oracle and SAP, which are under pressure from cloud companies.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend. And that makes Amazon Web Services our best friend,” Benioff said.

Salesforce is seeing increased growth from a series of acquisitions getting it into the marketing-management business, which nicely complements the core product. Benioff cited the 2013 deal for Exact Target and last year’s acquisition of Krux as central to the growth in this business, which increased 57 percent year over year. Salesforce’s core business grew 14 percent over the same period.

In addition to raising its revenue guidance for the fiscal year to $10.25 billion, up from $10.1 billion, Salesforce also said it expects revenue of $2.51 billion in its second fiscal quarter and a narrow profit.

[Editor’s Note: Salesforce is a GeekWire annual sponsor.]

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