Oracle's co-president talks fusion

The future is unclear but is Oracle's, says co-president Chuck Philips


What do you do once you’ve been on a bit of spending spree and bought up over 20 companies in a short space of time? Well, you stack ‘em high – that’s what Oracle’s been doing according to its co-president Charles Phillips.

In his keynote address to the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, Phillips talked up the company’s stack of technology, boasting that it is taking on the shape of an integrated, end-to-end set of applications – or it will eventually!

“Basically, we have a core technology foundation – middleware and database – and the range of applications harnesses the capabilities of that stack,” he said. “Under the umbrella strategy, Oracle's database and Fusion Middleware support the Oracle infrastructure. The branches are the applications that leverage that core technology.”

But he admitted there was still a lot of uncertainty about the way things would turn out as the software industry has “never had a true test of what would happen” if a company continued to support and enhance its existing applications as well as debut a brand-new set of applications such as Fusion. “It's unclear how it will play out,” Phillips admitted, but in true Oracle-fashion couldn’t help but add: “It doesn't matter; we can afford it.”

He also spoke of the firm’s desire to improve the application ownership experience for customers. “We want to change the ownership experience completely,” he said. “We are trying to systematically reduce risk, systematically reduce cost, and improve the experience of owning software. We want to redefine the ownership experience.”

The company can also afford to carry on buying marketshare – and intends to do so. “We get proven R&D which supplements what we've already invested in,” he said. “We also get industry experts with decades of experience - a phenomenal asset for us.”

As if to prove his point, Oracle completed another takeover bid on Tuesday with plans to buy MetaSolv, a provider of service fulfilment operations support systems (OSS) for next-generation comms service providers, for $219 million.

MetaSolv's apps allow telecoms networks providers to supply their customers with the correct service packages and provision, and gives Oracle another means of access to clients such as Vodafone and T-Mobile.

One leading analyst firm reckons that Oracle had little choice when it came to this particular purchase. “Having decided that it needed to expand its portfolio with inventory and activation, Oracle didn't actually have much choice of who to buy once Amdocs had swept up Cramer,” argued Eirwen Nichols of Ovum. “Metasolv was the obvious candidate. On the plus side, Metasolv's largest customer is BT, which gives Oracle an excellent reference customer to build from.

“Oracle plans to offer a fully integrated, end-to-end 'productised' solution for the campaign-to-cash process for telcos. Metasolv is the fourth acquisition Oracle has made in the area this year, and will fill a big gap in Oracle's portfolio. However, there is a lot of work to do to create a coherent portfolio from this year's acquisitions and to establish the company's credentials in the eyes of telco CIOs and, just as importantly, CTOs.”

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