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4/29/2002
03:44 PM
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A Sliver Of Black For MicroStrategy's First Quarter

The business-intelligence software maker comes back from a loss a year ago, but sales are down.

MicroStrategy Inc. is in the black--barely. Monday, the business-intelligence software vendor reported that it had eked out a first-quarter profit, despite slower sales.

MicroStrategy reported net income of $428,000 for the quarter ended March 31, a marked improvement over the $22.7 million loss it recorded a year ago. But sales were $35.7 million, down 28% compared with $49.4 million last year. License revenue, a key indicator of future growth, was down 22%, to $14.5 million.

Still, the company says it continues to attract new customers--109 in the quarter, representing about half of all sales. That, chief operating officer Sanju Bansul says, indicates that the company is "maintaining and building MicroStrategy mindshare."

Deep spending cuts last year helped the company return to profitability. MicroStrategy's spending for sales and marketing, research and development, and general administration, for example, are all roughly half what they were a year ago. The company has been struggling since it restated 1998 and 1999 financial results because of accounting irregularities. It's been slashing costs and laying off workers in the aftermath as it focuses on business-intelligence products.

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