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9/15/2010
08:23 PM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: Larry Ellison's Top 10 Priorities At Oracle Open World

New Exadata machines, Mark Hurd's new role, the status of MySQL and Java, and more will be on Larry Ellison's mind at Oracle Open World this coming week.

This weekend, 40,000 of the Oracle faithful will pour into San Francisco, maxing out the city's hotels, swamping the Thirsty Bear and its world-class IPA, stressing every eatery within 3 blocks of Moscone Center, and—with Oracle's logo emblazoned everywhere—turning that extraordinary city even redder than usual (and I say that with all due respect).

For Oracle, the extravaganza provides a monumental opportunity for calibrating the mood of its varied constituencies: enterprise customers eager to see Oracle's new products but leery of its aggressive aspirations; partners who love being part of Oracle's vast ecosystem but dread the prospect Oracle expanding directly into their sectors; and developers who run the gamut from eagerly exploiting Oracle's huge installed technology base to stridently opposing the company's plans (or rumored plans) for its open-source products.

Amid all of that activity are hundreds of technical sessions, hundreds of exhibitors, multiple keynotes (including one from new co-president Mark Hurd, which should be a treat), and perhaps even a T-shirt protest, although for an SF event like this it could be hard to tell the protesters from the regulars.

But by far the most-compelling element of the entire 5-day mega-show will be the public comments of CEO Larry Ellison. While Ellison always draws a huge crowd and frequently enjoys playing to those crowds with some intentionally provocative comments, I think the showmanship angle of his presentations is vastly overstated.

Rather, I think, lots of people want to hear what Ellison has to say because for whatever combination of reasons, Ellison is a profoundly influential force in the market today, and the strategies he lays out and the positions he stakes and the enemies he makes combine to reverberate far beyond Oracle itself and are felt, often jarringly, across all those constituent sets of customers and prospects and partners and stakeholders and, perhaps most of all, competitors.

So looking closely at what Oracle's been doing for the past year or so, I would argue that these are the Top 10 strategic issues that Ellison will focus on in is public comments at Oracle Open World.

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And the one common thread across all 10 of these issues is that their relevance and influence will radiate far beyond Oracle itself and will touch most or even all sectors of the IT business and its customers.

Here's my Top 10 list, ranked in order of scale of impact:

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