Posts Tagged ‘Oracle’

Larry Ellison’s legacy, mentorship: industry comments

September 22nd, 2014

As Larry Ellison steps down as chief executive officer of Oracle, he closes a chapter in a career filled with aggressive competition, flamboyant spending and spectacular profits.

Ellison will remain as the software company’s chairman and chief of technology. The following are comments from Ellison’s competitors, collaborators and chroniclers.

Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun Microsystems, an Oracle competitor that Ellison eventually acquired:

“His longevity was that he had the stickiest product. Those are the last software products that you can get out from under. It allows them to stick around for longer. It’s good news for Oracle that they figured that out.”

“It has been an interesting, long and impressive run. He understands the power of buying and shutting down your competitors.”

“Larry is still there. Things won’t change that much.”

“He is not tone deaf. He just chose not to listen to the media or analysts or investors or often his customers. He just doesn’t listen to those people. He has a group that he listens to and takes his council from.”

Mike Wilson, author of “The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison: *God Doesn’t Think He’s Larry Ellison.”:

“I’m sure it was an exercise in subsuming his ego which is never easy for Larry Ellison.”

“He’s always been more of a visionary. He doesn’t get enough credit for the difference he’s made in technology. He’s got a great legacy in evangelizing a technology that’s changed everything.”

“It’s hard to imagine he’ll make more of a splash. He’s bought an island, won the America’s Cup and created a fifth major tennis championship. Maybe he’s got a moon mission in his pocket?”

“Oracle is Larry Ellison, and Larry Ellison is Oracle.”

Marc Benioff, CEO of, who worked at Oracle and got funding for his company from Ellison:

“There always has been, & always will be, one CEO at Oracle. ‘All sw & hw engineering functions will continue to report to @larryellison.”‘

Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, which got early funding from Ellison:

“You look at almost every software company on the planet and it’s founded by an Oracle alum. His impact on the technology landscape is massive. The technical ranks at the Valley are just littered with Oracle people. You can’t say that about every successful company.”

“He put Oracle’s database on every type of hardware in the planet. You couldn’t count them all. He forced every other competitor to compete with him by defining the playing field as being able to run on any platform. In the 2000s as he saw the landscape changing, he changed his strategy and started acquiring companies.”

“The only other entrepreneur I can think of who could change his stripes like that is Steve Jobs. Larry and Steve rode through several technology eras.”

Jeremy Burton, EMC Corp.’s president of products and marketing, who worked for Ellison at Oracle and served as senior vice president of marketing:

“He had a profound impact. In enterprise technology there is no one else that had as much of a profound impact over such a long period of time.”

“Larry is a combination of wicked smart, technology smart and he could convince people to do the things he wanted. A lot gets written about how brutal he is but is also hilariously funny. I’d probably spend as much time laughing hysterically at him as I did running scared from him. He could have been a standup comedian if he failed in technology.”

John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems Inc., which has partnered and competed with Oracle:

“Larry Ellison is one of the top technology CEOs of all time. The positive impact he’s had on the industry is unquestioned.”

Joseph Grundfest, a corporate governance professor at Stanford Law School:

“In most cases, having co-CEOs doesn’t work out very well, but this could be the exception. You have two executives who have been working well together for a few years — and Larry is still in the picture.”

“I just hope his health is alright. That’s the first question one has in these situations.”


Oracle shoves IBM out of world’s No 2 software seller spot – Gartner

April 2nd, 2014

Oracle sold more software than IBM last year for the first time ever, making Larry Ellison’s database giant second only to Microsoft, at least according to analyst Gartner.

Oracle made $29.6bn during 2013, growing 3.4 per cent over the previous year and elevating it from world’s third largest to second-largest software vendor.

IBM, which had been world number two, fell one place to third – just behind Oracle on revenue of $29.1bn, representing a growth of just 1.4 per cent.

At the opposite end of the table, Salesforce also chalked up a first – breaking into Gartner’s top 10 for the first time.

Salesforce earned $3.8bn during 2013, an increase of 33.3 per cent on the 2012 number. Last year, Salesforce was outside the top 10, at number 12.

The company is the antithesis of Oracle and IBM, which has made a business from CRM sold not as an installable piece of software but as a service.

This is the first time a cloud or SaaS providers has made it into Gartner’s top 10.

Gartner research vice president Joanne Correia said in a statement the debut is testament to the fact cloud is driving the bulk of change in the software market.

Microsoft remained the world’s biggest software maker, earning more than twice as much as IBM or Oracle: $65.7bn, an increase of six per cent.

It’s the tussle between IBM and Oracle that’s significant, given they are both enterprise IT giants trying to reposition themselves to grab the cloud market.

The difference between IBM and Oracle is relatively small, but the psychological impact is significant.

Neither company has had a fantastic year. Oracle’s growth has been slowing while it has been trying to spin up belated cloud hosting businesses and services.

IBM has stumbled badly: hit by falling hardware sales and struggling on cloud, it’s now spending $1.2bn to roll out 40 cloud data centres to make up.

Software sales had been growing.

Larry Ellison has long wanted to make his company the new IBM, based on size and status.

Typically, however, the competition has been on servers – particularly integrated systems, one reason Ellison bought Sun Microsystems’ server business in 2010.

IBM, meanwhile, has pinned its future to software.

The giant’s goal under a five-year roadmap published in 2010 is for EPS of $20 a share in 2015 – with around half of IBM’s profits coming from software.

IBM has sold its x86 server business to Lenovo – the final step in exiting low-profit hardware that started with its sale of the IBM PC business in 2005, also to Lenovo.

Particularly painful for IBM will be the fact is Gartner reckons Oracle’s growth has come from big data and analytics. IBM has been pushing both, through sales of things such as its SPSS predictive analytics software and initiatives such as Smart Cities.

Chad Eschinger, Gartner research vice president, said in a statement: “Global trends around big data and analytics with business investment in database and cloud-based applications helped to drive Oracle’s top-line growth.”


Oracle throws down the HCM software gauntlet at HCM World

February 7th, 2014

Oracle President Mark Hurd’s message about the human capital management (HCM) software market at the vendor’s first-ever HCM World conference this week in Las Vegas was not subtle.

“We want to make sure the market knows Oracle is serious about HCM, serious about HR and serious about leading this space,” Hurd said in a keynote speech.

And judging from the executive representation, it wasn’t just talk. Larry Ellison, Oracle’s CEO, is scheduled to deliver the conference’s closing keynote.

“How many times have Larry Ellison and Mark Hurd presented at the same event other than Oracle OpenWorld? Zero. And we’re doing that here,” Hurd said.

Oracle’s focus on HR mirrors what’s happening in organizations, according to research data presented during the event’s opening night. When asked to rank 10 challenges in order of importance on Conference Board’s 2014 CEO Challenges Study, human capital emerged as the top priority for survey respondents. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 17th Annual CEO Survey revealed that 92% of U.S. CEOs are either considering changing their talent strategies, or are already in the process of doing so. The theme of a presentation by Ed Boswell, a PwC practice leader, was “Our Time Has Come.” With more eyes on HR than ever before, Boswell said HR leaders have a once-in-a-career opportunity to exert more influence in their organizations.

Hurd’s remarks made it clear that Oracle plans to take advantage of the rising tide. But as Bill Kutik, technology columnist for Human Resource Executive magazine put it in an October 2013 article, today’s HCM software market is a “horse race,” with Oracle, SAP and Workday battling it out for supremacy. Kutik wrote that each has advantages and disadvantages, and “all three companies are a long way from the finish line.”

So how does Hurd envisage Oracle pulling into the lead? His answer was simple.

“We are going to out-engineer our competitors,” he said.

Hurd champions Oracle above Workday and SAP in HCM software market

During a press roundtable, Hurd delved more deeply into Oracle’s positioning against SAP and Workday.

“SAP, to my knowledge, [has] rewritten none of their applications for the cloud,” he said. “We’ve done the work.”

Hurd also cast an unfavorable eye towards SAP’s acquisition of SuccessFactors. “We bought Taleo, which was the world leading recruiting company. We’ve integrated Taleo with Fusion, and we’ve done a buy-build strategy,” he said. SAP has “done a buy strategy of a performance management company that was attempting to get into recruiting.

“I just think we will out-engineer them. We’ve made better acquisitions than they have, and the collection of our capabilities will lead the market,” he continued.

As for Workday, Hurd focused his critiques on the vendor’s functionality. For instance, one area where Workday trails, in Hurd’s opinion, is social media.

“Social is a big deal to us. We think it’s a key differentiator against Workday which we don’t believe has social capabilities,” he said. “We believe that’s a huge miss.”

While Hurd admitted that Workday was “out a little bit in advance of [Oracle] from a product perspective,” he said he feels Oracle has not only caught up to the native Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendor, but surpassed it. He brought up the fact that Workday just rolled out a new user interface based on HTML5 instead of Adobe Flash last month, and said the company has had “well-documented” problems with its mobile capabilities.

Hurd also hung his hat on Taleo again in regard to Workday. While Workday’s newly developed recruiting module is set to be released later this year, Zachary Thomas, Oracle vice president of HCM cloud strategy, estimated that deep recruiting functionality takes upwards of six years to cultivate.

“I think it’s an internal mobility app, I don’t think it’s a recruiting app,” Thomas said of Workday Recruiting. “I think it has absolutely no social capabilities — there’s no social referrals, no social marketing.” In Thomas’ view, pursuing an acquisition integration strategy in the recruiting area with Taleo was a wise path for Oracle — to its customers’ benefit.

However, Hurd acknowledged Workday’s overall positive brand perception. “I think they have had the cool factor,” he said. “Listen, we just need to show up and do a better job.”

As for Oracle’s momentum, Hurd said the company will provide further integration between Taleo and Fusion in coming months, deepening the link between talent and core HR applications. He also pledged his support to PeopleSoft users, saying that although Oracle is “driving very hard on innovation in the cloud,” it will not abandon its on-premises customer base.

The latest version of Oracle HCM Cloud was announced during the event. Release 8 features “more than 200 new innovations, including an integrated time and attendance solution, workforce modeling [and] additional global support for payroll and new languages,” according to a press release. The version also includes new social sourcing capabilities and enhancements to the user interface.


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