salesforce.com, inc. (CRM) Living Up to its Name?

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Cloud computing is one of the hottest buzzwords in the tech sector at the moment. This relatively new technology allows users to access computing resources through a network, and according to proponents, allows for greater scale advantages and improved efficiency. salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) is widely considered the leader in the cloud computing space, and is growing its top line very impressively.

The firm offers sales and marketing solutions to big hitters such as The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) and McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD), and has recently pulled in a few more high-profile contracts. The most recent earnings report showed strong sales and revenue growth, but some analysts are wondering how well management is doing on the bottom line.

Q4 Earnings

Salesforce.com (CRM)In the most recent release, salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) delivered top- as well as bottom-line performance that exceeded analyst expectations. In fact, the firm has one of the fastest top-line growth rates in the tech sector, and was recently named the world’s No. 1 most admired software company by Fortune magazine. Sales for the quarter were up a huge 32% year over year to $835 million.

For the full year, the company delivered revenues in excess of $3 billion, representing a rise of 35% from fiscal 2012. Another highlight from the report was the strong operating cash flow, which rose 17% to over $280 million. Based on these strong results, the company upped its guidance for fiscal 2014, now expecting revenues of between 3.82 and 3.87 billion dollars.

While the top-line growth is very impressive, there are some problems on the company’s bottom line. Due to stock-based compensation expenses and a one-time tax charge, the firm delivered a net loss of $20.8 million, versus a net loss of $4.08 million a year earlier. Excluding these items, salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) reported EPS of 51 cents, beating the consensus of 40 cents.

Growing Competition

Despite salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM)’s position as a pioneer of the cloud software and marketing space, the firm is facing growing competition from the likes of SAP AG (ADR) (NYSE:SAP), a German competitor, and Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL). These rivals are pumping a great deal of money into acquisitions meant to challenge Salesforce’s software solutions. At the end of last year, Oracle acquired Eloqua, a provider of cloud-based marketing automation, for about $871 million.

SAP has released a number of cloud marketing solutions of its own, and while it joined the game a little later, it seems to be making some decent progress. The firm now offers a CRM rapid deployment package for sales, marketing, and services, as well as an SaaS package targeting sales representatives. These developments are provoking Salesforce to come up with acquisitions of their own in order to keep up.

Soaring Valuations

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