Global CIO: Larry Ellison Should Acquire Dell (And 10 Other Crackpot Ideas) - InformationWeek

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05:28 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans

Global CIO: Larry Ellison Should Acquire Dell (And 10 Other Crackpot Ideas)

The acquisition would triple Oracle's revenue and spike its market share, says Motley Fool. But, there's just one problem: the deal would be a terrible fit.

"We've got 295,000 database customers that can run their Oracle workloads orders of magnitudes faster by deploying Exadata," Hurd said. "Exadata customers are experiencing immediate performance increase, measured in multiples, not percentages. Customers are seeing 15 to 50 times the improvement with Exadata.

"We are seeing a lot of enthusiasm at the end of the quarter as we begin to build a backlog for Exalogic [Elastic Cloud Machine], which will be available next quarter in both Intel and Sparc versions. There are 150,000 middleware customers , many of them using our market-leading WebLogic app server, that ultimately, are prospects for Exalogic. We've made more announcements relating to Sun's core technologies," Hurd continued, "specifically Solaris and Sparc. As an early indicator, we entered the quarter with a record hardware backlog."

Dell's a great company with lots of potential, but trying to suggest that it would be a perfect fit with Oracle and its strategy of high-end systems that Ellison has been articulating for the past year is, well, foolish.

But inspired by Mr. Baines' poorly researched idea—or, to be more charitable, let's call it his out-of-the-box thinking—and in the hope of illustrating just how badly a Dell acquisition would mesh with Oracle's new direction, I've come up with 10 acquisition ideas that I feel would be far better deals than Dell for Ellison to pursue:

1) The Pennsylvania portion of Interstate 80: No one in state government has any idea how to keep this 350-mile strategic link connecting San Francisco and New York City functional. Oracle could cover all related costs by imposing a 22% "support" fee on all drivers, which would also create a new industry vertical and source of ongoing revenue growth.

2) The Borders bookstore chain: Teetering on the edge of financial collapse, Borders could be snapped up for a pittance. Oracle could turn the stores into combinations of (a) briefing centers for customers and prospects and (b) retail outlets selling America's Cup merchandise.

3) IBM: By acquiring IBM, Oracle would instantly become the dominant world player in all the markets Ellison considers essential: everything from high-end systems to analytics to middleware and databases. Of course, the Justice Department would never allow it, but that's not my concern here—I'm just trying to come up with a list of 10 ideas that aren't as bad as Oracle buying Dell.

4) General Motors: Another relatively inexpensive buy, GM could provide Oracle with a unique entre' into the mobile market and into the lucrative federal-government IT market, since Uncle Sam's a primary owner of GM stock. Plus, GM could fill the void left by BMW in the former Oracle-BMW racing syndicate: "Oracle-GM" has a rather nice ring it, don't you think?

5) United States Postal Service: If Oracle president Safra Catz could turn Sun into a highly profitable business—Catz recently said that Sun's financial turnaround has been so strong that "we could be back at pre-Sun operating margins quite quickly"—then she and Oracle can do the same thing with the USPS. And again, think of the captive market the Post Office would provide for all kinds of systems!

6) New Orleans Hornets of the NBA: Kinda strange to have the Golden State Warriors play in Oakland's "Oracle Arena" when a primary owner of the Warriors is Tibco CEO Vivek Ranadive, so Ellison can buy the Hornets and move them to San Jose. Then, the Oracle/Borders retail chain can sell Hornets stuff alongside Oracle-GM Racing and America's Cup stuff.

7) SCO Group: Oracle's recently exhibited some stellar legal prowess and since SCO Group's unique value proposition was suing its customers and partners, perhaps Oracle's legal expertise could improve SCO's disastrous fortunes. But I just don't see much of a market for SCO-branded gear in the Oracle/Borders retail store.

8) San Francisco: Yes, it would be a tad unconventional, but Catz and Oracle could fix the city's massive financial problems while the new ownership arrangement would make planning and construction for San Francisco's hosting of the next America's Cup much easier to manage. Also, think of how this could improve logistics at Oracle Open World!

9) University of California Berkeley: Sets Oracle up with a steady pipeline of bright computer-science students, relieves some financial pressure on incoming Governor Jerry Brown, and gives Ellison a bit of the granola-and-Birkenstocks persona that some image consultants claim he lacks.

10) HP: Could be a tough fit if IBM's already in the bag, but would nevertheless provide Ellison with assurance that new employee and HP CEO Leo Apotheker would be compelled to accept service on any future subpoenas relating to litigation involving Oracle and either HP or SAP.

So I'm sorry, Mr. Baines of the Fool, but your Dellapalooza ship's just not coming into harbor until after all of these more-rational deals get done. (Pssst: have you contacted Bill Gates?)


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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at [email protected].

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