I have got to be honest – when a current employee of Oracle sent me an IM stating this, I was shocked at first; my first reaction was-What the hell? As a former Oracle employee who had spent eight years in various roles, geographies, lines of business and market segments both as an individual contributor and as senior management, I always felt that Oracle was Oracle because Larry was at the helm- he had the chutzpah & “brass balls” (aka Alec Baldwin from GlenGary GlenRoss) needed to do the unexpected and unheard of- take over BEA first and then acquire Sun Microsystems (not to mention buying the island of Lanai and then an airline that would fly people over there, from all over the world).
Larry had the vision, the business acumen and the ability to move mountains, from a technology perspective.We have all heard his Oracle Open World keynotes, where he took jibes at Salesforce, Microsoft, IBM and even Apple- his caustic responses and diatribe about “the cloud” make for great recordings that are timeless classics.
After the initial shock settled in and I dug deeper,I realized that he is still going to be very involved with the company he had started more than 30 years ago and which he had steered as the captain of the ship (literally with his penchant for Team Oracle USA & America’s Cup). He was taking over the role of the CTO and was moving down from the CEO position which would now be handled by the dynamic duo of Mark Hurd & Safra Catz. In my opinion, this is a positive development which will augur well for Oracle- it will allow Larry to focus on what he does best which is technology and development and will allow Mark & Safra to operationally run the company- sales,marketing & services headed by Mark while finance, legal and operations will be headed by Safra. With each of the 3 leaders focusing on what they know best and do best, the company should continue to thrive and be the technology trailblazer everyone is looking at it being- Engineered Systems, Middleware, Mobility, Analytics, Social & Cloud are the exciting businesses to keep an eye out for.
Granted that Oracle was late to the game in monetizing its cloud strategy compared to SFDC or AWS, it has slowly but surely gained momentum and shortened the gap on the cloud maturity track, via its targeted acquisitions. I expect these to continue which will give Oracle two significant benefits-
1) Specialized IP that it would take long to organically develop in-house.
2) The “Power of the Red Stack Portfolio” which exponentially increases with every new acquired solution, once “Oraclized” that is pre-engineered and pre-integrated to work with all the other existing components.
The 3 Musketeers of Larry, Mark & Safra in my opinion have all the muscle, brainpower and ability to execute to continue to grow the Red Economy. More importantly they work well together and have worked effectively for a while now as the power team. With any major organizational change, as with Larry’s announcement, there will be a short period of adjustment and structural response, but things will soon get back to the new normal- functioning like a Big Well Oiled Machine. I would not write off Oracle by any yardstick- the best is yet to come- Looking forward to seeing Larry on stage at OOW 14 at Moscone Center on Sunday in SFO.