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Industry Analyst, Consultant and author, former programmer, systems analyst with 25 years experience. Spent three years in Europe as an industry analyst and as Correspondent for Information Week and other industry publications. Regularly consults with leading public and private enterprise software, database, and infrastructure companies. An award-winning columnist for leading IT and business magazines, Josh is widely quoted in the trade and business press and he blogs at Enterprise Matters.

7 responses to “The Realignment of the Enterprise Software Market: Oracle vs. Everyone, Microsoft in Ascendance, and Watch out for Infor”

  1. Nicholas Mayne

    Good post. I like your article for several reasons:
    1. Someone on the internet is finally talking about Microsoft’s enterprise ambitions. Larry Ellison directly disregarded Microsoft in enterprise when he pointed out that they are more focused on the consumer segment of its business. Here is a link to the Churchill Club video interview:

    2. I am not the only one that believes Oracle is hurting itself by making enemies with everyone else. And now, everyone else is teaming up against Oracle. The fact that SAP-IBM-HP are not warring amongst themselves is a HUGE factor. One thing to watch out for is Cisco. They are selling servers and stuff, and they hold the cards in a big way bc they control the network.

    3. No ones cares that SAP lost the trial etc. Larry needs to shut his mouth!!!

    Here is where I disagree:

    At the end of the day, you still need to deliver something to the customer, whether it’s a cloud or a box. The cloud is really a synonym for a box, just served in a different way. So I’m not really sure what you are getting at when you say that Oracle’s hardware focus is a thing of the past.

    An important point that was made in the last Oracle earning conference call was the distinction Mark Hurd made between IBM’s approach to the market and Oracle’s approach. IBM would like to sell “services” to people, which can include installation services, consulting services, software customization services, solve-your-really-difficult-information-infrastructure problem services etc. The hardware is just one part of the means that it provides services.

    Oracle on the other hand, just wants to sell you hardware and software preintegrated.

    Oracle’s approach is more profitable simply because it’s a more straightforward business. You don’t need to hire a bunch of people, and train them, and pay for travel expenses all over the world etc. You simply build kick-ass hardware, coupled with a kick-ass collection of software preintegrated and that’s the end of the story. IBM wants to solve the world’s problems and make it a better, more energy efficient universe. That’s cute, but it doesn’t make as much money. Consider how much more information the world is generating with the increased use of mobile phone and access to internet in the developing world, not to mention the emphasis on analytics. Riding that trend is more sure and profitable. This services deal for IBM is the main reason their profit margin will never reach that of Oracle’s. Plus Oracle is selling it’s hardware through its support/maintenance services whereby you have rights to new hardware as soon as it’s released. Very smart indeed.

    The HP-IBM-SAP partnership is not going to be as seamless as Oracle’s offering simply because it will be a heterogeneous environment. It’s still going to be basically how IT works today. Oracle can price their offerings more expensive simply bc the customer will no longer have to manage several relationships and products.

    IBM will probably acquire SAP in the near future, which is going to create a lot of new problems and take time before the full potential is realized.

    Finally, I think Larry Ellison is the smartest guy in this game for the past ten years by starting to buy up all these huge software companies in the recession of 2001. Watch all the other clowns in the game just starting to acquire software etc. Plus Larry has Java, Solaris, Sparc etc. I think Oracle just needs to get better at supporting its customers and its game over for everyone else.

    I’d like for you to elaborate on Cisco’s angle in all of this though, cause I don’t think they shuld be left out…

  2. Merv Adrian

    As always, Josh, lots of great ideas to chew over. One in particular strikes me: when if ever will Microsoft REALLY connect its Dynamics strategy to the BI/Sharepoint/SQL Server tripartite axis? Many other licensing and usage synergies have been laboriously forged, but this one continues to lag, evidently due to organizational silos and lack ofr coherence across them. And given Microsoft’s history of delivery, connecting the parts could be years away, Azure notwithstanding.

  3. Josh Greenbaum


    Excellent point. I agree that the BI part of your tripartite axis seems to be missing in action. IMO they should let Dynamics drive the strategy, or at least be a co-driver, as BI needs to move up the stack at MSFT as it must across the industry. From where I sit BI is still the weakest part of the enterprise software strategy.


  4. Fred McClimans

    Josh – Very intriguing post. I’ll grant you that Microsoft could be an increasingly formidable foe for Larry in the future, but I also have to concur with Merv’s assessment of Microsoft’s delivery abilities. This will be an interesting battle of both words and products/services to watch unfold between all the major players.

    Interestingly, the turmoil in this market only makes it easier for others, like Microsoft, to strengthen their position, or for newcomers to start eating a slice of the pie while the big-bad dudes duke it out. Could Cisco have a role, as Nicholas mentioned above? I think that might be a stretch. But I would agree with him that Cisco is in an interesting position right now. While many still focus on the traditional Cisco vs Juniper, et al competition, I would not underestimate Cisco’s obvious interest and ability to attempt a move into new/expanded market segments – especially given the turmoil that is likely to occur during 2011.

    Looking forward to your next post.


  5. Darren Cunningham

    Josh, I think you make some solid points about the competitive landscape, but it struck me as odd that the only mention of was as a tag. Similarly, there is no mention of Cloud Computing and how it will affect the “Realignment of the Enterprise Software Market.”

    I really think you attended the wrong event last week. Not mentioning Salesforce and the impact cloud apps/platform/infrastructure in an article about the enterprise software market heading into 2011 must not have been easy. For that I congratulate you.

  6. Mark Symonds

    I echo Darren’s comments. I truly think cloud computing and SaaS will continue to disrupt the status quo in the enterprise software space. The major vendors are taking very different approaches. They can’t all be right. It’s possible that none of them is.

  7. Dreamforce 2010: Of Cloud Proliferation – Part 1 » The TEC Blog

    […]’s equivalent editions. For more information, see Frank Scavo’s blog post and Josh Greenbaum’s post on the Enterprise Irregulars blog, both from our recent attendance of the Microsoft Dynamics Fall Analyst Event (FAE) […]