Sun sets quietly behind dim Q3 report

What can you say after you've said "Oracle made us an offer?" Nothing worth saying to analysts, apparently, as Sun on Tuesday canceled its Q3 earnings call. Still the earnings reports must be released, and one feels one ought to look.

Shall we start with the good news? Billings were up a combined 4% year-over-year in the Total Software, Open Storage, Solaris-based SPARC CMT Servers, and X64 Servers categories, and those billings in turn accounted for 40% of total billings, up 10%. Total Software and Open Storage billings were up 28% and 63% year-over-year respectively, and SPARC CMT Servers billings were up 3%.

The company ended the quarter with $2.990 billion in cash and marketable debt securities and generated cash flow from this quarter's operations of $178 -- "the third consecutive quarter of positive cash flow from operations in fiscal 2009, and following upon 19 consecutive years of positive cash flow from operations," a company representative noted only slightly wistfully.

Meanwhile, revenues for Q3 '09 were $2.614 billion, down $606 million from last quarter and $652 million from Q3 '08. GAAP-calculated net loss for the quarter was $201 million, or 27 cents per share, compared to $209 million (28 cents per share) last quarter and $34 million (4 cents per share) for Q3 '08.

For reasons that should be blisteringly obvious, the company did not release guidance for the upcoming quarter.

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