Broad and strong revenue growth drove Oracle to higher profit in the fourth quarter and the company's full 2007 fiscal year.

The software giant's quarterly revenue rose 20% from a year earlier to $5.8 billion (£2.9bn) and its net income was up 23% to $1.6bn, based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Earnings rose 27% from a year earlier to $0.31 per share.

The company boasted of big year-over-year gains in revenue from new database and middleware licences, new application licences, services, licensing and software overall. Full-year revenue was also up, with a 25% increase to $18bn. Net income and earnings per share for the year also rose.

Excluding certain items, Oracle earned $0.37 per share in the quarter. That result beat estimates by analysts polled by Thomson Financial, who had expected $0.35 per share. Revenue also beat analysts' consensus estimate of $5.6bn.

"We again executed extremely well across the board," co-president and chief financial officer Safra Catz said. Fourth-quarter earnings also beat Oracle's own past guidance by three cents per share, she said.

"We grew all our businesses faster than the market." The company is gaining market share against rivals including SAP, IBM and BEA Systems while also increasing its profit margin, according to Catz.

Oracle expects to steal even more market share after the next version of its database, Oracle 11g, is released on 11 July, said co-president Charles Phillips.

The company has been growing through numerous acquisitions in the past few years and will continue to acquire companies to gain new application offerings, executives said.

For the current quarter, Oracle expects revenue to grow between 19% and 21% from a year earlier and new software licence revenue increase between 20 and 30%.

One weak spot in the quarter was Oracle's applications business in North America, where growth was just 5%. That was in comparison to a stellar quarter the previous year, chief executive Larry Ellison said. He expects strong growth in applications in North America in the current quarter. In the Asia-Pacific region, a smaller part of Oracle's business, applications revenue growth was just 1%.

On Wednesday, the company is announcing an initiative that will let channel partners join Oracle's reseller programme and sell products with less administrative overhead, executives said. It will allow resellers to process sales contracts in hours instead of days, they said.