Cloud Software Vendors See Stocks Hit Stratosphere

By Thomas Wailgum , CIO |  Software

Enterprise software luminary Bruce Richardson just left AMR Research behind, but as a parting gift to his "First Thing Monday" readership, the analyst offered an eye-opening view of just how cloud application and SaaS providers are faring on Wall Street.

And the view, well, it's pretty amazing.

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As discussed in Richardson's farewell post, here's a look at the recent stock performances for five top cloud application providers:

closed 2009 at $15.98 per share, up 89.3% since Dec. 31, 2008. During the last few months the company has consistently flirted with the $1B market cap mark. NetSuite ended the year valued at $996.2M.

RightNow ended the year at $17.37, up 124.7%. Its market valuation topped $552M.

Salesforce.com closed 2008 at $73.77, up 130.5%. I bet you wish you loaded up when it dropped to $25.19 last winter. If you had, you could be reading this on your own island near Richard Branson's. If the company's share price grows another $6.00 or $7.00, Salesforce.com will have a $10B market valuation.

The real stars, though, were archrivals SuccessFactors and Taleo. SuccessFactors finished the year at $16.58, up 188.85%. Taleo's share price jumped 200.38% during the course of 2008, ending at $23.52.

Richardson has been writing about the performance of cloud app stocks for a while. In fact, he points out that if, after reading his December 2008 post on the "SaaS 20," you followed his investment recommendations by buying then-depressed SaaS stocks, "your portfolio would be up by 300 percent to 400 percent."

By comparison, the tried-and-true ERP vendors didn't fare all that badly on Wall Street: Epicor was tops with a 58.9% gain, followed by QAD (+45.8%), Lawson (+40.3%), Oracle (+38.3%), and SAP (+30%), according to Richardson's research.

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