Is the No. 2 CRM Provider Behind Oracle?

Cloud CRM provider may have grown its annual revenue to a record $2.27 billion in 2011, but its fourth quarter still left Wall Street cold with a net loss on $642 million.

See, Wall Street was expecting non-GAAP earnings of 40 cents a share on revenue of $624.4 million last quarter, but Salesforce posted a net loss of $4.08 million, or three cents a share. Regardless, that quarterly revenue figure is a 38 percent gain over last year's. Similarly, $2.27 billion is 37 percent more over Salesforce's 2010 performance. As always, the real nitty-gritty is contained in Salesforce's earnings statement, and Larry Dignan at ZDNet has some good Wall Street-focused analysis.

But to me, the most interesting thing is a claim made by never-boring CEO Marc Benioff on the earnings call: Despite the mixed results, Salesforce's strong revenue push it over the edge and make it the No. 2 CRM provider in the market across both the legacy and cloud spaces, putting it right behind perennial rival Oracle -- and more relevantly, ahead of SAP.

SAP is chasing its own cloud hoop dreams, so let's see if that lasts, but it's a strong position for Salesforce to be in as it accelerates towards a raised outlook of $2.92 to $2.95 billion for FY13. Benioff reports that his company had a hundred seven-figure transactions and nine in the eight figures last quarter alone, so that's a solid starting line.

Come back on Monday to see how Salesforce's mixed performance in the fourth quarter of 2011 affected its standing on the Talkin' Cloud Stocks Index.

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