Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Surprise! Oracle Is a Bigger Power in the Cloud Than You Thought.

Asa Mathat /

You’ve got to hand it Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and his team of lieutenants: They know how to tell the world exactly what to do with their speculative chatter, even if part of it turns out to be right.

Oracle shares finished today’s regular trading session down more than 2 percent or 58 cents to close at $27.12. The main reason was market chatter, about upheaval at the top of its sales ranks, following the disclosure in court documents of a series of embarrassing instant messages by the company’s head of North American sales.

But among the nuggets from today’s surprise earnings conference call — held three days earlier than scheduled — was news that not only is Oracle’s business officially killing it, but that Oracle is now on track to be the second-largest software-as-a-service company in the world behind

How’d that happen? Acquisitions. Earlier this year, Oracle spent a combined $3.3 billion for Taleo and RightNow. The combined effect, as CEO Larry Ellison put it during his remarks on a 35-minute conference call with analysts, is that Oracle is on track to bring in $1 billion in bookings this year.

That would put Oracle in second place behind the biggest SaaS company,, run by former Oracle exec Marc Benioff, which is on track to do its first $3 billion year.

Ellison also took another shot at his new favorite punching bag, Workday, the SaaS or cloud-based human resources software company run by Aneel Bhusri and Dave Duffield, two former execs of PeopleSoft, the HR software company Oracle took over in 2004 after a $10.3 billion hostile takeover that has raised a lot of money at an impressive valuation and expects to IPO this fall.

Hear Ellison tell it himself in this audio clip from the call below.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald