- Associated Press - Friday, November 19, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Shares of Salesforce.com Inc. soared to a record high on Friday after the business software company reported stronger-than-expected results for the latest quarter and said it expects to reap $2 billion in revenue in fiscal 2012.

Salesforce was among the first companies to push cloud computing, technology that allows companies to store data online, rather than on their own computers.

The use of the technology has spread rapidly in recent years, with companies using it to cut costs.

Though this idea is common now _ everything from e-mail to music and photos are stored in “the cloud” _ it wasn’t in 1999, when CEO Marc Benioff founded the company.

Salesforce reported net income of $21.1 million, or 15 cents per share in the August-October period. A year earlier, it earned $20.7 million, or 16 cents per share. Excluding items such as stock compensation costs and interest expenses, the company would have earned 32 cents per share in the latest quarter, beating analysts’ expectations by a penny.

Its revenue was $429.1 million, up 30 percent from $330.5 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected revenue of $424.8 million.

Salesforce forecast fourth-quarter revenue of $447 million to $449 million, well above the $424.8 million that analysts are expecting. It is expecting adjusted earnings of 27 cents to 28 cents per share, roughly in line with Wall Street’s predictions.

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael B. Nemeroff said he sees Salesforce doing even better than is 2012 forecast, as its cash flow growth accelerates and its new products take hold with customers.

Shares of San Francisco-based Salesforce jumped 17 percent to $135.94 in afternoon trading Friday. Earlier, the stock hit $136.19, its highest since going public in 2004, two months before Google Inc. Since then, its shares have outperformed Google’s.

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