Friday, 22 February 2008

Oracle to buy Salesforce?

I know I am a bit slow off the mark here - the rumour about Oracle taking out Salesforce started circulating a couple of weeks back but it is still worth commenting on even if it turns out to be a ball of smoke. There are 3 things I find interesting about this rumour:

The borg-like ability of Oracle to assimilate

Mr. Ellison continues in his bid to subsume the software planet. After his purchase of BEA he had spent an astonishing $31 Billion in 3 years on 35 acquisitions. How can any organisation successfully integrate 35 acquisitions in 3 years? Is it possible to align vision, product, marketing strategy and channel at a rate of 1 new acquisition every month, many of which were large organisations in their own right like Siebel, Peoplesoft and BEA? Is it just chaos in there? Or are they adopting a "federated" IBM-like model where vision and product coherence are subservient to good branding? Check out this nice commentary on what should be done with SaaS Acquisitions

The emotional attachment some people get to software companies.

A comment from one salesforcer on the rumour:
"how horrible would that be! I’m not sure I would want to be part of the Saleforce if they sold out!"
I know that some people get attached to inanimate objects like cars, tvs and any piece of technology that begins with an 'i' - but to Enterprise software companies - come on dude get a life!

The impact such a deal would have on Oracle's onsite offerings

The mere rumour of an Oracle bid normally creates a huge amount of uncertainty in their target's sales pipeline. In cases like BEA and Peoplesoft the rumour decimated sales as FUD over the companies future makes customers think twice. In the case of the Salesforce/Oracle rumour I wonder whether the opposite might happen? It is clear that the SaaS model for which Salesforce is the poster-child is gaining increased acceptance even in large organisations - so where does this leave Oracle's onsite offerings? And will customers be asking the same questions?