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Network Appliance Profits Top Forecast

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Network Appliance Inc. (NTAP.O), a maker of storage software and devices widely used by Web sites, on Monday reported sharp gains in sales and profit in its fiscal first quarter, slightly exceeding analysts' forecasts.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Network Appliance said its profit, excluding in-process research and development and amortization of intangible assets, rose 140 percent to $32.3 million, or 9 cents a share, from $13.5 million, or 4 cents, a year ago. There were no unusual items in the year-ago quarter.

On that basis, the results topped the consensus forecast of 8 cents a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial, which tracks analyst forecasts and company results.

Sales more than doubled to $231.2 million from $103.3 million.

"Revenue for the quarter was driven by the overall growth of the external storage market,'' said Network Appliance Chief Executive Dan Warmenhoven.

As companies go online, they are buying Network Appliance's products to store and manage vast amounts of digital information. Its products are also used to speed access to Web sites and allow data to be pooled centrally and then accessed from any point along a network.

During the quarter, Network Appliance acquired closely held Orca Systems, a Waltham, Mass.-based developer of software that links together large computer systems running the Unix or Microsoft Corp.'s business-class operating systems.

Including the one-time items, Network Appliance said net income fell to $5.0 million, or 1 cent a share in the first quarter.

Shares of Network Appliance closed 2-1/16 higher at 90-3/4 on the Nasdaq. The shares have more than doubled this year, but

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