Oracle says it could win if a rival buys Salesforce

An acquisition of Oracle would create a disruption, but Oracle can win through focus, company executives said

Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd spoke on Thursday at a press event at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, California.

Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd spoke on Thursday at a press event at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, California.

Oracle will probably come out ahead if one of its rivals buys Salesforce.com, because it would turn Oracle's superior focus into an even greater advantage, according to Co-CEO Safra Catz.

"If it's acquired by somebody else, it's probably good for us, to be honest," Catz told reporters at a media event at Oracle. "Because everybody brings their own stuff to these things."

Catz declined to comment on whether Oracle made the overture to Salesforce that was reported on Wednesday by Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources. But the company spent much of the day driving home the point that it has everything it needs to win in the cloud market.

Along with Oracle, potential buyers for Salesforce include SAP, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. Any of those pairings could create complications, as any buyout of a company worth more than $US40 billion can, analysts said. For example, buttoned-down IBM and casual Salesforce could face a culture clash, and HP is already in the middle of its own reorganization into two large companies.

"Disruption is always opportunity for the guy who's on mission," Catz said. It would probably help Oracle in the short to medium term at least, though ultimately it would depend on who made the acquisition, she said.

Oracle has spent 10 years building its Cloud portfolio, which includes three major products delivered as services: software (SaaS), platform (PaaS) and infrastructure (IaaS), Oracle executives said. It lets customers choose which elements to buy as cloud services and which to run on premises, which sets Oracle apart from rivals, they said.

It's the only company with a complete suite of Cloud-based applications, co-CEO Mark Hurd said. Enterprises won't want to buy separate Cloud applications from specialists such as Salesforce and Workday because it's too expensive and time-consuming to integrate those products into a company's overall operations, he said.

The only other enterprise software vendor with a complete suite is SAP, and it's missed the boat on Cloud computing, Catz and Hurd said. SAP is still a bigger application vendor, but Oracle expects to pass its rival soon.

"We're not about winning by a nose. We're going to pass those guys by a mile," Catz said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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