Ellison Says Oracle Looked at Buddy Media Before Vitrue

Oracle Corp. looked at Buddy Media Inc. before agreeing last week to acquire Vitrue, a social-media marketing company, Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison said.

“Companies want to advertise on Facebook,” Ellison said yesterday at the D: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. “They want to roll out their products on Facebook. They want to know what people are saying about their products on Facebook.”

All Things Digital reported this week that Oracle rival Salesforce.com Inc. was close to an agreement to acquire closely held Buddy Media, another social-media brand management company.

Oracle is the world’s largest maker of database software and second-largest maker of business applications after SAP AG. More recently, the company, which Ellison co-founded in 1977, has been branching into computer servers through its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc. in 2010.

The company has spent more than $40 billion on more than 70 acquisitions since 2005, when it bought the human-resources software maker PeopleSoft Inc. On May 23, Oracle said it would buy closely held Vitrue for an undisclosed price.

The shopping spree has helped fuel a 35 percent rise in Oracle’s stock price in the past five years.

Social Media

Processing data from websites such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. is increasingly important to marketers and a new use for Oracle’s database, Ellison said.

“It’s an important new way of understanding consumer behavior,” Ellison said. “For the first time in our industry, the consumer part of our industry is bigger than the corporate part. Corporate continues to grow, but with the advent of smartphones and the incredible rise of Apple we see consumer computer processing as a larger business.”

Ellison said Oracle will release a cloud-computing service for its business applications, which the company first announced in October, at a June 6 event at its headquarters in Redwood City, California. The service is meant to help Oracle compete with companies including SAP, Salesforce.com and Workday Inc.

Salesforce’s online software is a formidable competitor to Oracle, Ellison said, while he dismissed Workday’s products as “frail.”

“Whenever we have a head-to-head with Workday in the cloud, our human resources versus their human resources, we almost always win,” he said. “I’m not worried about them.”

Cloud Computing

Oracle’s cloud-computing service will include its new Fusion business applications, as well as software from acquired companies Taleo Corp. and RightNow Technologies Inc., running on Oracle’s servers. Customers will be able to access the applications, as well as database software and Java middleware, over the Internet, Ellison said.

Ellison also said he wishes Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Meg Whitman “nothing but the best” -- a departure from competitive moves Oracle made when Leo Apotheker was leading Hewlett-Packard. Whitman took over as CEO in September.

“I think Meg was a big improvement and I wish her luck,” he said. “I hope she does well for the benefit of HP’s customers and employees.”

Ellison, second on Bloomberg’s tech billionaires list after Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, is worth $33.7 billion, up 2.3 percent since the beginning of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

An America’s Cup-winning yachtsman known for an extravagant lifestyle, Ellison, 67, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on real estate, including a home in Woodside, California, modeled on 16th-century Japanese feudal architecture.

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