Oracle's Ellison Says Cloud Industry Still in Early Days

  • Makes presentation during company event in San Francisco
  • Billionaire founder says Amazon, Microsoft now biggest rivals

Oracle Corp. Executive Chairman Larry Ellison said his company will continue its push into the cloud while noting the industry still has much room to grow.

Leadership in the field remained up for grabs with the biggest cloud-only businesses still relatively small -- none at around $100 billion, Ellison said, probably referring to annual sales. Oracle now counts relatively newer entrants such as Amazon.com Inc, Workday Inc. and Microsoft Corp. among its most formidable competitors, the company’s billionaire founder said on Sunday.

Larry Ellison at Oracle OpenWorld
Larry Ellison at Oracle OpenWorld
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

“This is how much our world has changed,” Ellison said during a keynote at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. “We no longer pay any attention” to traditional competitors SAP SE and International Business Machines Corp. “It is quite a shock.”

Oracle is investing in the cloud as the company comes under growing pressure from rivals that deliver software via connections over the Internet. It is now rolling out new products that touch many different parts of its lineup, including applications and tools for customers in e-commerce and manufacturing.

While this shift helps the company break into new markets, it’s also hampering Oracle’s traditional business of selling licenses for software installed on corporate systems.

“We are in the middle -- and I really do mean in the middle -- of a general shift in computing that is no less important than shift onto personal computing,” he said. “It seems like early days.”

In recent years, Oracle had battled Salesforce.com Inc. in the cloud and raced to beat SAP and IBM. Oracle has been redesigning its products so that they can be sold and delivered over the Internet to keep up with the transformation in the broader enterprise technology industry, where companies are increasing spending on cloud services from providers such as Amazon, Workday and Microsoft.

Revenue however has come under pressure during the company’s transition. In the period that ended Aug. 31, sales fell 1.7 percent to $8.45 billion. Analysts on average had forecast sales of $8.53 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Ellison on Sunday said Oracle was leading in some cloud-based software sectors including high-end enterprise resource planning, used for key corporate functions such as finance.

Co-Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd said Oracle has moved quickly to get his company’s products on the cloud in recent years.

“Oracle will lead this decade-long transition to the cloud,” Hurd said during a keynote on Monday. “We now have virtually 100 percent of our portfolio rewritten, rebuilt, modernized for the cloud.”

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