Oracle CEO slams SAP over acquisitions, cloud

Mark Hurd derides SAP’s Concur acquisition, hits out at German vendor’s cloud offerings

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Oracle CEO slams SAP over acquisitions, cloud Hurd: You’ve got to have your core solutions which are yours
By  Tom Paye Published  January 26, 2015

Oracle's co-CEO, Mark Hurd, hit out at SAP's acquisition approach last week, claiming that the German company's $8.3 billion buyout of expense-statement vendor Concur would not provide any kind of competitive edge.

Speaking to ITP.net in Dubai, Hurd said that he largely agreed with comments made by his co-CEO, Safra A. Catz, at the time of the acquisition in September 2014. In an interview with Bloomberg, Catz said, "Maybe tomorrow they'll buy Dairy Queen," insinuating that the acquisition had nothing to do with SAP's core business.

Hurd, while not quite as forceful in comments, took a similarly dim view of the acquisition when asked about it last week.

"When you look strategically on buying a mid-market, expense-statement company, it doesn't strategically change your market position, because it doesn't have anything to do with the core application set, and that's her point," he said.

"It's a very expensive acquisition, so to spend all your money, or a lot of your money in their case, to buy something that doesn't feel very strategic, that's why you've gotten the reaction you have, and you've seen their share price get hit, and all the issues around that."

Hurd said that Oracle's own acquisition strategy focused on helping the company to build out suites of solutions. He gave Oracle Marketing Cloud, the vendor's solution set designed to take the fight to marketing cloud leader Adobe, as an example. He pointed out that Oracle was able to leverage its recent acquisitions in this sphere, including Responsys, BlueKai and Datalogix, and bring them together into a fully formed solution - something that he accused SAP of not managing to do.

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"In marketing, to my knowledge, they don't have an offering. They've been partnering with Adobe, which is fine. But you've got to have your core solutions which are yours," he said.

Hurd also hit out at SAP over its cloud strategy, claiming that Oracle's cloud growth was far stronger than the growth seen by the German software giant. He accused SAP of not having moved any of their core applications to the cloud, and that Oracle started re-writing its own applications for the cloud six or seven years ago.

"To my knowledge, if you tell me about core SAP re-written modern apps, not hosting the old apps, I think they have zero. If you're not into the market with these core modern applications, you're probably going to have your challenges," he said.

Whether Hurd feels the same way about SAP's cloud offerings this week is another story. In its preliminary earnings report for full-year 2014, the German software giant recorded a 45% jump in cloud subscriptions and support revenue for the year, with the fourth quarter seeing cloud growth of 72%.

To Hurd's credit, though, Oracle does seem to be narrowly leading the cloud battle for the moment, at least in terms of earnings. In 2014, SAP said it earned €1.1 billion ($1.23 billion) from its cloud offerings. Oracle, meanwhile, reported $516 million in cloud revenue just for its second quarter of financial year 2015.  

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