Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Oracle Grabs RightNow, a Cloud Company in the Big Sky State, for $1.4 Billion

Software giant Oracle just announced that it intends to acquire RightNow Technologies, a cloud software firm, in a deal that values RightNow at $1.43 billion.

Oracle said the deal, which it expects to close late this year or early next, pending stockholder and regulatory approvals, is worth about $1.5 billion net of RightNow’s cash and debt. Oracle offered $43 a share for RightNow, which, according to its latest quarterly filing, had 33.2 million shares outstanding.

RightNow’s specialty is what it calls a “Customer Service Cloud,” which it says helps companies step up their customer service experience, whether they’re running a call center, a customer service Web site, or a social network.

“Oracle is moving aggressively to offer customers a full range of Cloud Solutions including salesforce automation, human resources, talent management, social networking, databases and Java as part of the Oracle Public Cloud,” Thomas Kurian, Executive Vice President, Oracle Development, said in a statement. “RightNow’s leading customer service cloud is a very important addition to Oracle’s Public Cloud.”

The move is also a direct challenge to Salesforce.com, which has in recent months been emphasizing its Service Cloud as a way to enhance customer service experiences, and to find and get ahead of problems before they blow up in public.

Cowen analyst Peter Goldmacher says in a research note that Oracle’s move will ratchet up competitive pressure on Salesforce. Oracle has a stronger distribution channel and will be able to push RightNow directly to its existing customer base.

That may be. But here’s probably the best thing about RightNow: Its location. RightNow is based in Bozeman, Mont., which is about as unlikely a place to find a cloud software company as one can imagine. It’s located in a stupefyingly beautiful part of the country and about two hours away from Yellowstone National Park.

I lived in a neighboring town in Idaho for a few years and once stayed the night in Bozeman. I was pleasantly surprised, and have always intended to get back. The population is about 40,000. It was once the center of America’s canned-pea industry, but is now known as one of the best places to live if you’re a skier.

Or maybe fly-fishing is more your speed. Some of the scenes in “A River Runs Through It,” the 1992 film based on the Norman Maclean novel, were filmed in and around Bozeman. Just to give you an idea, I embedded a clip from that film’s most memorable scene:


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google