30 years of Oracle

Oracle was founded 30 years ago this year, after Larry Ellison saw an article in an IBM research magazine describing a working prototype for a relational database.

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By  Peter Branton Published  June 14, 2007

Oracle was founded 30 years ago this year, after Larry Ellison saw an article in an IBM research magazine describing a working prototype for a relational database. Along with co-workers Bob Miner and Ed Oates, he saw the business potential in such technology, with the trio going on to found the company that would later become Oracle - named after a project for the US Central Intelligence Agency that they initially worked on.

Timeline

1977 Software Development Laboratories (the precursor to Oracle) founded by Larry Ellison, Bob Miner and Ed Oates.

1979 Oracle version 2, the first commercial relational database management system (RDBMS) is released. Version 1 was never released to the public, Ellison believing that customers would not buy the first version of a new technology. Company name is changed to Relational Software Inc (RSI).

1982 RSI renamed Oracle Systems and the company hosts its first user conference, in San Francisco, US.

1985 Oracle releases Oracle version 5, the first RDBMS that can run on microcomputers and PCs, making it easier to use the software.

1986 Oracle goes public on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

1987 Oracle founds its applications division, focusing on building applications that work closely with its database.

1990 Problems with how Oracle reports its sales figures ultimately lead to the firm having to report a loss for its fiscal third quarter. Around 400 staff, 10% of the workforce, are laid off. Ellison is persuaded by the board to hire some experienced business managers: Jeff Henley joins as chief financial officer and Ray Lane is appointed chief operating officer.

1995 Oracle becomes one of the first large software companies to adopt a comprehensive internet strategy, with Ellison announcing the network computer concept.

1998 With the release of Oracle8 Database and Oracle Applications 10.7, Oracle becomes the first enterprise computing company to embrace the Java programming language.

2001 Ellison claims that Oracle saved US$1billion by implementing and using its own business applications.

2003 Oracle announces US$7.2billion bid to buy rival application firm PeopleSoft.

2005 Oracle completes its acquisition of PeopleSoft and announces plans to buy Siebel Systems, which specialises in customer relationship management (CRM) software.

2006 Ellison announces at Oracle OpenWorld that Oracle is to offer support for Red Hat Linux users, with its Unbreakable Linux offering.

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