Oracle's Larry Ellison Comments on Threats from IBM, Microsoft, and Open Source

Jun.23.06 | About: Oracle Corporation (ORCL)

From Oracle's (NYSE:ORCL) earnings conference call held last night -- speaker is Oracle CEO Larry Ellison:

Let me focus a bit on the database business, because half the time I read a story about Oracle, people are quoting “Well, Oracle’s database business is growing slowly and they are under attack from IBM and by Microsoft.”

It wasn’t long ago where Gartner had Oracle and IBM dB2 neck-in-neck in their market share estimate. Well, it turned out that Gartner did a little bit of rethinking. Gartner’s latest report showed Oracle’s database business with a 49% share versus IBM at 22%. So, not only are we not close, according to Gartner, our database business is more than double our nearest competitor.

IDC has a somewhat more conservative point of view. IDC has our database business with a 44% market share versus dB2’s 21%, but still more than twice the scale of IBM’s business. So our database business is growing well, and very, very healthy, and very, very profitable. All of our product lines, we’re gaining share in all of our product lines, and our top line growth was, again, nearly $1 billion quarter-over-quarter...

The interesting thing about Open Source — and I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it today — the interesting thing about Open Source is it’s free to everybody, even Oracle. So, Oracle could choose to just take a copy of anyone’s Open Source, and as long as we could support it better than an Open Source company, we could suddenly leapfrog them and become the number one distributor.

It is interesting to evaluate Open Source and understand that they don’t own any of their intellectual property. It is free for us to take and support, which we may in fact, do in the future.