Salesforce.com, Oracle in public tiff over keynote speech

SAN FRANCISCO ― Salesforce.com Inc. and Oracle Corp. engaged in a public spat over a keynote speech on Wednesday, highlighting the software companies’ increasingly bitter rivalry.

Salesforce.com Chief Executive Marc Benioff sent out a statement that said Oracle had “just canceled” his speech at the Oracle OpenWorld conference and advertised an alternative venue where he said he would make a speech and take questions.

But a source at Oracle who asked not to be named, denied Benioff’s claims, saying that Oracle told Salesforce.com it had to move the speech to 8 a.m. Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. Oct. 5, to make room for an Oracle customer event that needed a bigger venue because it was oversold.

Benioff said he would instead speak on Oct. 5 at a restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco and then hold a press conference immediately afterward.

“Oracle just canceled my keynote tomorrow. But the show must go on! Everyone is welcome to join me at Ame Restaurant tomorrow to hear about the social enterprise. Sorry Larry, the cloud can’t be stopped,” Benioff said.

Salesforce.com sells Web-based business management software that competes with Oracle products.

Salesforce.com shares were down $2.14, or 1.8 percent, at $115.46 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, but it was not immediately clear if the stock move was related to the public dispute.

Oracle’s Ellison shows off new tech hardware: all-in-one data center products

SAN FRANCISCO ― Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison unveiled new all-in-one data center products as the world’s No.3 software maker steps up its move into the hardware market.

Speaking on Sunday at the start of Oracle’s annual technology and user conference in San Francisco, Ellison touted the benefits of parallel computing and showed off the latest version of the company’s SPARC Solaris computer.

He also unveiled Oracle’s new Exalytics data analysis machine, “hardware and software engineered to deliver data analysis at the speed of thought,” Ellison said at the OpenWorld conference, which is expected to attract more than 40,000 people.

With its multi-billion purchase of Sun Microsystems last year, Oracle is aggressively stepping into the hardware business and competing against vendors including former partner Hewlett-Packard.

Ellison spent much of his speech pitching the idea of parallel computing, where computers are built with multiple processors and other components that work simultaneously, improving overall performance.

“How do we make this thing to go 10 times faster? Parallel everything,” Ellison said. “Lots and lots of parallel network connections moving enormous amounts of data in parallel. That’s how you make this thing go faster.”

Last year, the company launched Exalogic, combining hardware technology acquired in Oracle’s multi-billion dollar purchase of Sun Microsystems with its own software.

Oracle so far has installed 1,000 of its Exadata database machines with customers and sales are going well, he said.

Oracle has long compete with European software giant SAP AG and IBM in the business software and database products markets.

Oracle brings new claims against HP in Itanium case

SAN FRANCISCO ― Oracle accused Hewlett-Packard of fraud for concealing facts during negotiations between the two companies, according to a court filing.

The cross complaint filed by Oracle against HP on Tuesday is the latest salvo in ongoing litigation over the Itanium platform.

Oracle decided in March to discontinue its support for Itanium, a heavy-duty computing microprocessor, saying Intel Corp made it clear that the chip was nearing the end of its life and the company’s focus was on its x86 microprocessor.

HP has dubbed Oracle’s decision “anti-customer” behavior. The company sued Oracle in a California state court in June.

The litigation has been part of a deteriorating relationship between the two companies. Oracle hired former HP chief executive Mark Hurd last year after Hurd left HP amid questions about his relationship with a female contractor.

HP filed a trade secrets lawsuit against Hurd related to the Oracle hire, which was soon settled.

In the filing on Tuesday, Oracle claims HP fraudulently induced Oracle to enter into the Hurd settlement.

HP concealed the fact that it was about to hire Leo Apotheker as its chief executive, and Ray Lane as its chairman, Oracle’s filing says.

Apotheker and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison have long been rivals from the time Apotheker headed European software maker SAP AG. HP Chairman Ray Lane and Ellison had a troubled relationship from the time Lane was fired from Oracle in 2000, according to the filing.

“Given the well-documented animosity between Oracle and Messrs. Apotheker and Lane, HP knew that Oracle would not have signed the Hurd Agreement had it known of HP’s imminent plans,” the filing says.

An HP representative could not immediately comment Tuesday.

Other claims asserted by Oracle against HP include defamation and intentional interference with contractual relations. Oracle seeks rescission of the Hurd agreement, general and punitive damages and other remedies.

Oracle wants to question Google’s Larry Page on patent litigation

SAN FRANCISCO ― Oracle Corp. wants to question Google Inc. Chief Executive Larry Page in the course of high stakes patent litigation between the two companies, according to a court filing.

Oracle sued Google last year, claiming the Web search company’s Android mobile operating technology infringes upon Oracle’s Java patents.

Oracle bought the Java programming language through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in January 2010.

Page co-founded Google with fellow Stanford University graduate student Sergey Brin in 1998. The 38-year-old Page, who has a reputation for staying out of the public spotlight, took over as Google CEO in April after a decade under Eric Schmidt.

In a court filing on Thursday, Oracle requested the court’s permission to take Page’s deposition, saying he made the decision to acquire Android Inc.

“Mr. Page also participated in negotiations that took place between Sun and Google regarding a Java license for Android and in subsequent communications with Oracle’s CEO, Larry Ellison,” Oracle wrote in the court filing.

Google has sent a notice that it wants Ellison in a deposition to answer questions under oath, Oracle wrote.

Google called Oracle’s request a “harassing demand” because it could get the same information from other sources, according to the filing, which was submitted jointly by both companies.

Oracle waited too long to start taking depositions, and now needs the court’s permission to take more, Google argued.”Oracle should not be permitted to do so,” Google wrote in the filing.

Google representatives did not immediately res

Oracle buys company majority owned by CEO Ellison

NEW YORK ― Software company Oracle Corp. has agreed to buy Pillar Data Systems, a privately held storage technology company that is majority owned by Oracle’s own chief executive officer, Larry Ellison.

The transaction does not involve any upfront payment, but is structured as a “100 percent earn-out” deal, according to Oracle, which said it did not see the earn-out being material to its financial position.

An independent committee of Oracle’s board led the evaluation and negotiation of the deal. The company expects to use Pillar Data Systems’ technology to help run Oracle software faster and more efficiently, it said.

It sees the deal closing in July, subject to customary closing conditions which it did not elaborate on.

Shares of Oracle were up 0.6 percent at $32.53 in trading before the market opened.

 

Oracle buys company majority owned by CEO Larry Ellison

NEW YORK ― Software company Oracle Corp. has agreed to buy Pillar Data Systems, a privately held storage technology company that is majority owned by Oracle’s own chief executive officer, Larry Ellison.

The transaction does not involve any upfront payment, but is structured as a “100 percent earn-out” deal, according to Oracle, which said it did not see the earn-out being material to its financial position.

An independent committee of Oracle’s board led the evaluation and negotiation of the deal. The company expects to use Pillar Data Systems’ technology to help run Oracle software faster and more efficiently, it said.

It sees the deal closing in July, subject to customary closing conditions which it did not elaborate on.

Shares of Oracle were up 0.6 percent at $32.53 in trading before the market opened.

 

Overachiever Oracle faces high growth hurdles with pending earnings report

SEATTLE ― Oracle Corp has a habit of beating Wall Street expectations, but some investors fear billionaire Larry Ellison’s software and server juggernaut will find it hard to keep up its own pace when it reports earnings and sets new forecasts today.

The world’s No. 1 database software maker is facing wobbly economies across the world, especially in Europe, and might already have reaped the greatest gains from the purchase of Sun Microsystems 18 months ago.

“It’s not easy to keep putting up those kinds of numbers,” said Richard Williams at Cross Research, which has no holdings in Oracle.

“The real question’s going to be: Do they maintain the kind of growth rates they have been seeing? Or do we a see a slower growth rate implicit in first quarter guidance?”

Oracle, based in Silicon Valley’s Redwood Shores, has almost doubled sales and profit in the past five years, helped by a string of acquisitions. It has beaten Wall Street’s average sales and earnings estimates for the last six quarters ― often by a good margin ― and topped annual estimates for the last five years.

Aside from that stellar performance, technology investors pay attention to Oracle’s quarterly earnings as its fiscal quarters are out of sync with most others and it is the first to give a glimpse of business conditions in the most recent months, in this case April and May.

For Oracle’s fiscal fourth quarter, ended May 31, analysts are expecting a 12 percent jump in sales, to about $10.75 billion, and an 18 percent leap in profit, to 71 cents per share. Several have hinted they expect those estimates to be beaten.

Oracle, which vies with Germany’s SAP AG and IBM Corp in selling specialized software to companies, and with Hewlett-Packard Co in server hardware, has been largely immune to persistently weak consumer sentiment since the U.S. recession ended two years ago.

But a recent loss of momentum in the U.S. economic recovery and renewed fiscal woes in Greece put a question mark over continuing demand.