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Recurring Revenue: Article

Ellison Wants Oracle to Double in Size; Wants 2X Revenue

Makes Remarks at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco

So who's in favor of seeing Oracle Corp. double in size over the next few years? Company CEO Larry Ellison for one, who made a statement to the same during a speech at the company's OpenWorld event at San Francisco's Moscone Center. "The key thing will be to preserve our 40-percent-plus operating margins," Ellison said in announcing his intention to have the company reach nearly $30 billion in revenues.

Ellison said that Oracle must continue to increase sales--a  factor which will depend largely on the state of the U.S. and global economy-and more ominously, continue to acquire companies. Oracle's acquisition mini-frenzy over the past 18 months, during which time the company acquired Retek and PeopleSoft (both from the jaws of competing vendor SAP), and more recently, arch-CRM rival Siebel Systems, thus presages a future in which companies that compete with Oracle, complement its product line, or both, should be watchful.

Some industry observers believe that Ellison's quest was personal with PeopleSoft and Siebel, both of which were led by former Oracle executives, although Ellison has scrupulously maintained that the business value inherent in these acquisitions was the sole reason for Oracle's pursuit. Stockholders of both companies eventually agreed, and the market has done no damage to Oracle in the wake of these ventures either.

Nonetheless, the continued aggressive stance of CRM foe salesforce.com and of its leader, former Oracle exec Marc Benioff, may indicate that this company could easily find itself in the Oracle acquisitory crosshairs at any moment. Benioff pronounced "the end of software" at his own company's event in San Francisco a week prior to the Oracle event, saying that the salesforce.com application server approach will prove to the winner in enterprise IT in the long run. Benioff's company achieved notable success a few years back in competing in this approach on a head-to-head basis with Siebel's unsuccessful sales.com initiative.

Ellison was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle reporter Dan Fost as saying that he’s “an investor in salesforce.com (and) I’d like to see that investment go to zero.” Fost also reported that Ellison downplayed the possibility of Oracle acquiring BEA Systems, saying he “was not interested in betting in a big fight over BEA.”

Ellison has consistently espoused the view in recent years that the software industry is in a state of consolidation, and that only a few very strong companies will be left standing in the end. Oracle had revenues of $11.8 billion in its most recent fiscal year, closing in May. (Siebel had revenues of slightly more than $1.3 billion in its most recent fiscal year.) Oracle’s revenue contrasts with Microsoft’s near $40 billion in annual revenue, and it can be seen where Ellison plans to take his company.

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