The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RALEIGH, N.C. – Earnings conference calls give Wall Street analysts an opportunity to grill CEOs and CFOs and any other C-level executive who is invited- or ordered – to attend about a company’s financial performance. But before the inquisition can begin, CEOs often take time to deliver a state of the company speech.

On Wednesday, Jim Whitehurst of Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) took to the phone and webcast to deliver an upbeat address about the Hatters’ profitable year and quarter than exceeded expectations. And since Red Hat topped $1 billion for the first time, becoming the first open source software firm to do so, he had plenty to discuss.

All positive.

No grilling necessary.

Whitehurst’s monologue stretched to more than 1,300 words – twice that of most stories written about Red Hat’s financials. Then CFO Charlie Peters delivered his own very positive review of results.

Here are highlights of Whitehurst’s remarks, as provided by the financial news site SeekingAlpha:

40 Straight Quarters of Growth …

“I’m pleased to report that we delivered fourth quarter results that exceeded the high end of our guidance, and it represented a very strong finish to another record year for Red Hat. Red Hat associates around the globe have contributed to 40 straight quarters of sequential revenue growth, culminating in fiscal 2012 revenue that exceeded the $1 billion mark.

“Red Hat has become the first pure-play open source company and one of a few select software companies to have ever achieved this milestone. Our consistent strong growth over the last decade stems from the high value we deliver to customers, the power of our subscription model and the freedom, flexibility, reliability and security …”

Gaining Market Share

“Red Hat’s top line growth indicates that we are gaining market share from our competitors. In addition, we believe we are one of the few technology companies that is helping to define the new era of computing and enabling it through our technology and value proposition. Customers are looking to Red Hat to help modernize their data centers with reliable high-performing and agile technologies that prepare their infrastructure for cloud computing and the growth of big data.

“We also see a structural shift in the global economy where companies have been forced to become more lean and productive by doing more with less. One of the key enablers for success in this new economy is innovative technologies like Red Hat’s portfolio of enterprise-class solutions. … This shift simply cannot be addressed by legacy proprietary software.”

Broadening the Customer Base

“So from Wall Street firms to Main Street global retailers, CIOs are partnering with Red Hat more and more. These shifts in how business and data centers are run have enabled Red Hat to expand our footprint at existing customers and to attract new customers. An illustration of this expansion can be seen in our largest renewal. This quarter, we renewed 24 out of our top 25 largest deals or 99 out of 100 for the year, and we experienced 130% growth in these top accounts. Included in this metric was a record financial services deal with a global bank that significantly increased their purchases to an 8-figure deal. …

“Something that can get overlooked from the outside but which is extremely important to Red Hat is our solid execution relative to the foundation that supports continued growth beyond $1 billion. I’m referring to building out our functional capabilities such as customer engagement, execution discipline, systems enhancement and core people processes …

“In summary, I’m very pleased with our financial results for fiscal 2012. …”

Read the full transcript here.

 [RED HAT ARCHIVE: Check out a decade of Red Hat stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire by clicking here.]