Oracle lays down the gauntlet to IBM

The enterprise IT consolidation game continues to accelerate as Oracle acquires eCommerce giant Art Technology Group (ATG) for $1Bn. I sat playing Monopoly with my children during the last wet weekend. Embarking on the frenzied land grab that...

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The enterprise IT consolidation game continues to accelerate as Oracle acquires eCommerce giant Art Technology Group (ATG) for $1Bn.

I sat playing Monopoly with my children during the last wet weekend. Embarking on the frenzied land grab that sets the pace during the first few rounds, when even Old Kent Road was being snatched up, I reflected on the billion dollar Silicon Valley game that has kicked off over recent years.

Oracle has really set the pace with 67 acquisitions since 2002 starting with the hostile mega deal for Peoplesoft, the Sun game-changer and most recently with ATG.

ATG is significant as its technologies plugged a gap in Oracle’s retail applications portfolio where it was exposed to competitive advantage from IBM. Oracle can now offer a complete multi-channel commerce solution across web, branch, call-to-click and mobile.

Oracle gains 1000 client footprints from ATG thus it is paying a million dollars per client, an expensive piece of IP real estate. But it completes the “set” enabling it to cross sell, upsell and compete with a more rounded proposition in the Retail sector against IBM and SAP.

Client reaction

I met with two of the largest ATG retail clients in the UK on the day of the announcement and they were philosophical, conditioned after Retek, Siebel and Peoplesoft maybe. They believed if ATG is pushed into more retail environments its functionality will be enhanced and the product will develop and be integrated to Oracle back-office applications to offer a better consumer experience. Let’s hope.

This game of grabbling IP and patented technologies will lead to the ultimate goal - vertically integrated and engineered, a complete stacks of infrastructure from application to disc, software hosted and cloud enabled solutions.

ATG clients would do well to understand their licensing and support agreements as part of their Oracle license management strategy or they will find themselves as losers in this elaborate game.

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