Last night technology giant Oracle announced its full year and fourth quarter results for fiscal year 2020 and, to the surprise of few, the impact of the coronavirus was plain to see.

The company saw a departure from growth in Q4 2020, with revenues seeing a year-on-year drop of 6%, or 4% in constant currency, to $10.4bn.

This also killed growth for the full year, with total fiscal 2020 revenues dropping 1% year-on-year, and flat in constant currency, at $39.1bn. This gives investors $0.99 earnings per share, compared to $1.07 in the previous year.

For Oracle, the reason for this drop was that many of its customers are in industries that have been pummelled by the coronavirus pandemic, putting technology spending on the back-burner.

“Our overall business did remarkably well considering the pandemic, but our results would have been even better except for customers in the hardest-hit industries that we serve such as hospitality, retail, and transportation postponing some of their purchases,” said Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle, in the results announcement.

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However, investors and analysts have expressed disappointment at the results, with many questioning when Oracle will see a return to growth.

Shares in Oracle dropped 4% after the results announcement, before gaining 2.5% to see a close of $54.59.

Oracle results buoyed by cloud growth

One area that Oracle did perform well in was cloud services. For fiscal 2020, Oracle results showed a 3% year-on-year growth in cloud services and licence support revenues, to $27.4bn. The company also saw $5.1bn in revenue from cloud and on-premise licences.

“In Q4, non-GAAP earnings per share grew 5% in constant currency driven by strong performances in both our cloud infrastructure and cloud applications businesses,” said Catz.

“Leading the way was our Fusion Cloud ERP Suite that grew 35% in constant currency, and our Fusion Cloud HCM Suite grew 29% in constant currency.”

This is likely to have been helped by the already strong move to the cloud being accelerated by a surge in remote working. However, Oracle has also been making moves to reach those for whom a public cloud solution is not viable.

“In Q4, we launched a vastly improved version of our Exadata Cloud@Customer service,” said Larry Ellison, chairman and CTO of Oracle.

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“Exadata Cloud@Customer now enables our existing on-premise database customers to run the Oracle Autonomous Database in their own datacenter; previously, the Oracle Autonomous Database was only available in Oracle’s Gen2 Public Cloud.

“Enabling all our on-premise database customers to upgrade and run Oracle’s latest and best database technology in their own data center should dramatically accelerate the rate of adoption of the Oracle Autonomous Database…especially by our largest customers including banks and governments that are not currently planning to move their largest and most critical systems to a public cloud.”


Read more: Oracle is rushing to catch up in the cloud business and is becoming a threat to AWS