Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mr. Ellison, Please Check Your Ego at the Door

Larry Ellison has arguably one of the biggest egos in the business world today.  He may even hold the title now that Mark Fleury has left JBoss.  While there are other high profile CEOs out there, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos come to mind, no one is as egomaniacal as Larry. 

Sure, he has good reason.  Oracle has continued to produce stellar results.  He has done this through successfully integrating big ticket acquisitions that have hobbled many other companies (HP/Compaq comes to mind). 

But, in a recent article from the Motley fool, Larry blasts SAP and for their web-centric offerings claiming that this market is a bust.  His reasoning is solid TODAY.  Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) is a lower margin business.  TODAY.

This smacks of the arrogance that almost brought IBM to its knees in the 80s and helped Microsoft take its eye off the ball in recent years.  You can't be arrogant and wear blinders at the same time, Mr. Ellison.

The world is changing.  SaaS IS the next thing.  Google knows it and continues to capitalize on it with its Google Pack offerings that now include on demand versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint.  SAP, a company that I typically consider a late majority company is innovating in this area. IS making money here.  As are others. 

EnterpriseDB customer Tomax, a large ISV for the retail space, now offers much of their solution in a SaaS environment.  (An interesting side note to the Tomax story.  Oracle was an initial investor in Tomax and Oracle was/is the underlying database for their solutions.  But, Oracle bought their largest competitor, Retek last year, transforming Oracle form an ISV partner to ISV competitor.)  You can read more about Tomax and their offering here.

Arrogance is fine in many cases.  But, coupling arrogance with a myopic view can hurt you badly in the long run.

SaaS is a growing trend and not a FAD.  Wearing your jeans halfway off your butt is FAD... I hope.  Disco was a FAD.  Client/server computing was not a FAD. 

And it might just be replaced by SaaS.

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