fires back at Oracle launch


Software as a service vendor has delivered a backhander to its big brother Oracle following the decision by Larry Ellison’s baby to start providing its on-demand customer relationship management tools from a Sydney datacentre for the first time.

Overnight at its Openworld conference in the US, Oracle Asia-Pacific vice president Steve Au Yeung reportedly said the company would establish an Australian datacentre locally with hosting company Harbour MSP because although cloud computing meant it shouldn’t matter where data was hosted, some customers were concerned about offshore hosting.

In response, this morning’s regional vice president of Marketing Jeremy Cooper said his company was “delighted” to see Oracle acknowledge that cloud computing was the future of enterprise IT.

“Australia is home to some of the most advanced organisations in the world – companies who put a premium on innovation, not infrastructure,” said Cooper. “This is why they are choosing cloud computing for CRM, for custom application development, for enterprise collaboration, and for a whole host of other business applications.”

However, Cooper reserved a few words about’s own position in the market that might not go down too well at Oracle. “If you look at just the CRM market, public and private sector organisations have voted with their wallets, making Salesforce CRM the #1 CRM application in Australia today,” he said.

It is believed that hosts its own servers internationally — in Singapore, for example, but does not operate a dedicated datacentre in Australia for local customers.

“It’s not about the zip code of your data centre, but the performance, security, and reliability of the platform, and the ability to provide world class applications that don’t require companies to pay 22 percent annual maintenance fees,” said Cooper, in what appeared to be a reference to Oracle. and Oracle have historically had a close yet competitive relationship. was founded in 1999 by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff (pictured top right with French entrepreneur Loïc Le Meur), who still runs the company today. Benioff has spoken publicly about how influential his relationship with Oracle founder Larry Ellison has been.

But Ellison has also had his own play in the software as a service market courtesy of his controlling investment in Netsuite, which was also founded in the late 1990’s and run by former Oracle executives. And Oracle itself has amped up its on-demand offerings over the past few years.

The relationship between the two executives even continued to flare up this week in public. Benioff reportedly referred to Oracle’s Exadata server in a public statement, stating that “clouds aren’t in a box”. “ runs on 1,500 Dell servers … which are boxes,” Ellison fired back in a lengthy monologue.

Image credit: Robert Scoble, Creative Commons


  1. I’ve been walking around SoMa where the conference is for the last week (my hotel is a block away from Moscone; unfortunate coincidence) and the one thing that had me perplexed was the amount of advertising SalesForce was doing. Almost every second bus, bus shelter, trash can and more has the sky blue with white clouds, and features guys like Michael Dell and the head of Fujitsu in the US, promoting SalesForce and Oracle and how they’re “the best of both worlds”.

    I don’t know who Benioff thought he was fooling, but they’re totally different worlds, diametrically opposed. For God’s sake, Oracle are touting their “cloud in a box” at this event. I thought the point of clouds was that they didn’t get shipping in boxes to a business?

    I’d call is clever guerrilla marketing for tying their cloud product which makes some guys scared for their blinking light job security to something as representative of big iron as Oracle (especially now it has Sun and all of its kit in the family), but it just doesn’t work and comes across as deceptive.

    SalesForce should just keep doing what they’re doing – turning off the blinking lights and eating Oracle’s capex-budget-lunch – and stop trying to kid us all.

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