Analysis: Oracle helmsman on a tear?

PeopleSoft’s move in May to buy J.D. Edwards put it ahead of Oracle in the app market. The chain of events since then has sometimes been strange. Oracle was already losing ground in apps to leader SAP when it countered PeopleSoft’s J.D.Edwards bid with a PeopleSoft takeover move. Inadvertently, this cast more attention on Oracle’s own lagging applications business and the role that business plays within the bigger company. [Oracle’s PeopleSoft grab remained unresolved as ADT went to press.]

Its popular database has paved the way to new markets for Oracle. However, app packages have consumed a good deal of attention within the company, with, at the moment, questionable payback. Keeping an eye on the database, tools, apps and industry alliances is not getting easier.

Oracle must deftly compete with IBM, SAP and Microsoft. Right now, Oracle head Larry Ellison’s touch is far from deft. The world-class yatchsman sometimes seems on a tear. The sincerity of his PeopleSoft bid was questioned early due to his seemingly offhand suggestion that Oracle would mothball PeopleSoft’s mainline offering. Having taken Oracle to the mountaintop of software firms, he is entitled to more than the basic ration of hubris. How long Oracle dwells on the mountain depends on how it chooses to compete in the days ahead. For now, the company seems to miss the calming influence of former Oracle President Ray Lane.

Please see the following related stories: “Oracle tools strategy: 10G signals grid direction” by John K. Waters

Analysis: Grid gets another fan” by Jack Vaughan

Or, click here for an extended look at Oracle from ADT's August 1999 issue.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.


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