Larry Ellison Is Needlessly Clouding Oracle's Cloud Message - InformationWeek
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Josh Greenbaum
Josh Greenbaum
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Larry Ellison Is Needlessly Clouding Oracle's Cloud Message

Oracle's CEO should just talk honestly about what his company is doing, instead of putting on a show. Ellison the reasoned market leader is whom we'd like to hear from.

So, if it's just a question of a little hyperbole and a problem with nomenclature, what's my beef?

Part of my annoyance is admittedly personal: Does Ellison really believe that his audience, which includes me and my fellow analysts, and a collection of rather intelligent customers and prospects, will walk away from an Oracle event that conflates fact, fantasy, and, shall we say, atypical terminology, with a positive impression of the company as a market leader?

To me Ellison's performance looked desperate, trivialized the important issues, and otherwise reminded me of Newt Gingrich's wacky presidential campaign and his reality-challenged ideas for the country--the equivalent of talking about going to the moon when the economy is teetering and the world is poised for war on three continents.

The rest of my annoyance is based on trying to understand why Ellison bothers to play the game this way at all. Fusion Apps is looking pretty good, customer uptake is decent for a nascent product, the competitive wins are convincing, and when you add recent the acquisitions in, it's safe to say that Oracle boasts the largest cloud apps portfolio in the business.

Why not just say that? And why not, if you're going to bash a competitor like SAP, hone in on the fact that it had to go outside twice to get its cloud strategy right (first hiring John Wookey after he quit Oracle and then giving the cloud apps strategy over to Lars Dalgaard of SuccessFactors), instead of making up some nonsense about SuccessFactors being the only cloud app that SAP has? Why not take Workday to task for something real, instead of pretending that the company has made a bad bet on using Flash when it has publicly committed itself to HTLM5? Why even bother claiming that Fusion started as a cloud project? Who bloody cares, really?

When it comes to Oracle, I have a dream. In that dream, Larry Ellison decides to take the high road, and just talk honestly and credibly about what his company does, has done, and will do, instead of putting on an intelligence-insulting show. There are plenty of people inside Oracle who already do that, though their voices are often drowned by Larry's hyperbole. It's time Larry took a chance on being more than just Larry Ellison the guy playing for cheap laughs and sound bites. Larry Ellison the reasoned market leader would be a refreshing change from what we're being subjected to today.

If only dreams could come true …

Josh Greenbaum is principal of Enterprise Applications Consulting, a Berkeley, Calif., firm that consults with end-user companies and enterprise software vendors large and small. Clients have included Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and other firms that are sometimes analyzed in his columns. Write him at

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User Rank: Apprentice
6/13/2012 | 7:19:37 PM
re: Larry Ellison Is Needlessly Clouding Oracle's Cloud Message

Copied for wisegeeks-
ps I do agree with you on the Oracle Hyperbole though
While it would appear to be a rather simple matter to determine how many countries there are in the world, it is in fact quite complex. This is due not only to the ever-shifting political landscape, but also because the term Gă countriesGăÍ is somewhat fluid and open to interpretation.

A narrow definition of what a country is might look at a well-established group G㢠such as the United Nations G㢠and take its list of recognized members. In the case of the United Nations, there are 193 recognized states, with 192 being members of the United Nations, and the Vatican City, which is a permanent observer with all rights of a member, save voting rights.

One could also take an established definition for what a state is, and find all states which match those criteria. The most widely-accepted definition is given by the Montevideo Convention, from 1933. By these guidelines, a state must have a government, be in a position to interact with other states diplomatically, have a defined territory, and possess a permanent population. A rough count of these states would place the number of countries in the world at 201. That includes the 193 states recognized by the United Nations, as well as eight additional states. These are the Western Sahara, Taiwan, Northern Cyprus, Somaliland, South Ossetia, Transnistria, Abkhazia, and Nagorno-Karabakh. These states meet the criteria set out by the Montevideo Convention, but are all in a struggle with another, larger state, for independence, and so far have not been formally recognized by the United Nations.

An even broader definition could include some states which have been recognized by a number of countries, but have either failed to establish a steady government, or have failed to receive recognition by enough fellow states to truly meet the criteria of the Montevideo Convention. By adding in states such as the Cook Islands, Palestine, or the Chechen Republic, one could get to a much greater number of countries in the world G㢠somewhere in the range of 210-230.

Going even broader, one can include countries that are part of a larger country, sometimes referred to as constituent countries. One obvious example of this would be the countries of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland G㢠all making up the single country of the United Kingdom. In most counts of the countries in the world, these four countries are counted as one, but they could easily be counted as four instead. By including these sorts of countries there could be many hundreds, if not thousands, of countries in the world G㢠especially if one were to start counting smaller states, such as California or Delaware in the United States, as independent in their own right.

Similarly, territories G㢠such as the territory of Guam, a possession of the United States G㢠are usually not counted in an official count, but are states by many criteria. These are referred to by the United Nations as Non-Self Governing Territories, and include an additional 16 territories.

So, how many countries are there in the world? 193 by the count of the United Nations. 193 also by the count of the United States Department of State. 201 by a tight interpretation of the Montevideo Conventions. Somewhere over 220 by a looser interpretation. And if we were to go by the number of countries that have their own domain suffix G㢠such as .us for the United States, or .de for Germany G㢠we would find 243. So there is no firm answer, but 193 is commonly accepted, and somewhere between 193 and 250 seems rather certain.

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