Oracle has blamed foreign currency valuations for a decline in new software licence sales during its third quarter.

The database giant posted third-quarter revenues of $5.45 billion (£3.82 billion), a 2 percent hike, but net income fell 1 percent to $1.3 billion.

New software licence revenues - a key indicator of business strength - fell 6 percent to $1.5 billion compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

Also, while software licence updates and product support revenues jumped 11 percent to $2.9 billion, services revenues dropped 8 percent to $1.0 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predicted on average that excluding special items, Oracle would report earnings of $0.32 per share on $5.45 billion in revenue for the quarter.

Oracle slightly beat those expectations, reporting that excluding special items, earnings per share were $0.35 and revenue was $5.5 billion.

Oracle blamed foreign currency valuations for the drop in new licence revenues.

"But for currency, we actually sold more new licenses in Q3 of this year than we did in Q3 of last year," CEO Larry Ellison said during a conference call.

Given the global recession, "that is a remarkable achievement," he added.

The quarter's pace of business was typical for Oracle, with many deals closing toward the end, said Chief Financial Officer Safra Catz. "Nothing about that was different," she said.

In typical fashion, Ellison talked up Oracle's position against competitors, characterising Oracle as an unstoppable powerhouse amid an onslaught of harsh economic headwinds.

"We're better in applications than SAP. In database, we're taking share from Microsoft and IBM," he said. "We're competing more effectively across the board in all our product areas and that's the explanation for Q3, and reason for optimism moving forward."

To that end, Oracle is prepping a pair of major new software releases for the coming months, including Oracle Database 11g Release 2 and Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g, said Oracle President Charles Phillips.