Larry Ellison has been the CEO of Oracle since 1977. That’s longer than most technology leaders in Silicon Valley (and I) have been alive. He’s kind of like that crazy uncle everyone is afraid will show up at family events – except, he’s rich and runs an enormous technology company and everything he says creates a headline. One his most famous rants about cloud computing spawned what seemed like thousands of articles agreeing and disagreeing with Ellison’s statement,
“The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we’ve redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do. I can’t think of anything that isn’t cloud computing with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?”
Time hasn’t dulled Ellison’s tongue, but it seems it has changed his opinions.
A New, Cloud Loving Larry
Ellison’s disdain for the cloud is well documented. However, it appears he has decided to shed his crowd hating past just in time for Oracle to launch Oracle Cloud this month on June 6. At this month’s D10 conference in Palos Verdes, CA, Ellison said,
“I like the words [cloud computing]. It’s a charismatic brand. And people do need to simplify their existing data centers and deliver services in simpler ways.”
Ellison took his new cloud position step further (you knew he would) saying it was actually him that started the path to the cloud,
“NetSuite was my idea. I called up Evan Goldberg and said, We’re going to do ERP on the Internet.”
According to Ellison, this was an early example of software-as-a-service, and Salesforce.com co-founder Marc Benioff copied the idea a six months later, but “in a narrow way.” Ellison’s next play in the cloud won’t be quite as covert. This month Oracle’s platform-as-service, database-as-service and several other products will be released to general availability. Ellison describes this as a complex ERP suite in the cloud, all running on Oracle hardware and in their own virtual machine. This will join Oracle’s other offerings Fusion HCM (human capital management) and CRM (customer relationship management), which are still in a preview status, on Public Cloud.
No matter what your personal opinion of Oracle or Ellison is, it would be wise not to discount their entry into the cloud. Oracle is already benefiting from the cloud. Many major players like Salesforce are backed by Oracle software. The company has made its fortune by positioning itself as a one-stop shop for everything technical. It will likely push to play the exact same role in the cloud.