Enterprise Software Realignment: Oracle Vs. Everyone - InformationWeek

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12/20/2010
11:36 AM
Josh Greenbaum
Josh Greenbaum
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Enterprise Software Realignment: Oracle Vs. Everyone

Ellison is talking Oracle into a corner with SAP, HP and IBM while ignoring Microsoft to his peril. Meanwhile, Philips may put Oracle in the middle of Infor's target.

Larry Ellison makes no bones about it; he's willing and able to compete to the death, or at least to the near death, with any and all who stand in his way.

Despite the billions of dollars in joints sales between Oracle and SAP, HP, and IBM, Ellison has been directly, and at times, viciously, attacking these three companies in very public and very over-the-top ways.

These are not some of Ellison's finest moments.

Not only that, he seems to have neglected one major rival, Microsoft, despite the fact that the relative degree of competition versus joint business between Oracle and Microsoft is significantly smaller than between SAP, HP, and IBM. This would theoretically make Microsoft a more logical target for Larry's wrath -- especially if Larry really understood the degree of the threat that Microsoft presents. More on this in a moment.

And everyone seems to be forgetting that a new player is about to emerge in the form of Infor. More on this in a moment, too.

Meanwhile, the consequence of Ellison's attacks and actions regarding SAP, HP and IBM are having the unintended effect of pushing the above three competitors into a relatively united front against the Ironman from Redwood Shores. While SAP, HP and IBM all have many reasons to compete with one another, SAP in particular is beginning to see some benefits of being the wild card in the HP and IBM portfolios that can counter the wildness of Oracle.

SAP EVP Sanjay Poonen described this effect at the SAP Influencers Summit earlier this month -- adding that, in particular, his field sales team is teaming up with IBM and HP to beat Oracle as much as possible.

The fact that this is happening perhaps more in the field than in the executive suite is key: field sales people are notoriously pragmatic and tactical, and their apparent propensity to team up with erstwhile rivals to take on Oracle is an indication of the value of this new realignment, all other political realities aside.

So, with Ellison talking Oracle into a corner with SAP, HP and IBM -- one based, in my opinion, on a theory about the value of the hardware "stack" that is hugely outmoded -- it's interesting how little time he spends dissing Microsoft. To his peril.

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