TIBCO grew too fast and hired too fast and simply promoted within. You can't grow 25-30% and think managers can magically know how to keep that pace up. That's why you hire from the outside and bring in expertise which is experienced in building out at a high growth rate. Otherwise, your managers are going to reinvent the wheel and make a ton of mistakes trying to figure it out (which they never do).
TIBCO numbers are actually a lot worse when you back out the revenue from LOGLOGIC which they acquired last year. TIBCO's acquisitions slowed in 2012 and look what happened to their revenue. It cratered. They do not have competent people, with experience, to build out the company. This is why I've been saying TIBCO should have sold. Now, no one is going to buy them for anything meaningful . VR's chance was two years ago when HP offered approx. 38.00 per share which he rejected....telling the BOD he could get the PPS to that level himself. Two years later TIBCO would need to DOUBLE to get there. In addition, TIBCO took out 600 million in debt. How are the top 7 executives rewarded? Millions and millions of options.
How do you recruit good people when your revenue has slowed by 30%+? How do you keep innovating when EPS is negative YOY? TIBCO may be a candidate to go private, however, shareholders would not win.
I don't think the problems necessarily are growth related as such but rather that growth is exposing problems. TIBCO has never been well managed, rather they have been able to survive despite poor management because the technology has been good and relevant. The challenge now is that they are way past the point where they can get away with startup level management style.
The other fundamental problem is that the stack is getting stale and they have seemingly no plan in place to refresh it. Earnings transcript reported growth of 30% for Spotfire and since license rev declined 5% overall it's pretty obvious that both SOA and BPM revenue is dropping dramatically. This is confirmed in a few places in the transcript. Simply put, the fundamental glue that has been at the core of TIBCO's offering is becoming irrelevant and they are becoming an application vendor. That shift is eroding away their competitive advantage as an infrastructure vendor and they are more and more finding themselves competing in a domain perfected by others.
So why is the infrastructure becoming irrelevant? It's simple; cloud thinking is conquering the world and unless your stack can execute in a cloud stack (private or public) created by others then you will quickly become irrelevant. Clearly, the notion of reshaping the TIBCO product set so that it can execute in an open cloud stack is completely incompatible with current strategy and by the time they realize this they will most likely be gone.
I think short term we will soon see 15 and after next earnings it will dive below 10. This will trigger massive departure of quality people lower down, but top management ranks will most likely remain intact.
The only interesting metric going forward is change in the top management ranks; as long as management remains intact I would be very careful about investing long term. Will management change when they hit 10? I think no, but that remains to be seen.