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Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL)

October 12, 2011 1:00 pm ET

Executives

Unknown Speaker -

Dorian Daley - Director

Jeffrey O. Henley - Chairman

Lawrence J. Ellison - Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Director

Jeffrey O. Henley

Okay. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I'm Jeff Henley, Chairman of the Board of Directors. It's my pleasure to welcome all of you. In accordance with the notice of the meeting, I call to order the 34th Annual Meeting of the Stockholders of Oracle Corporation. Each stockholder was given an agenda for today's meeting. We will first conduct the formal portion of the shareholders' meeting in accordance with this agenda. Following adjournment of the formal portion of the meeting, we'll have a presentation. After which, we will have an opportunity for questions and discussion.

Before proceeding to the business of the meeting, I would like to make certain introductions. First, I would like to introduce myself and the other directors who are standing for election. So as I mentioned, my name is Jeff Henley. I've been a director since June 1995 and Chairman since January 2004. I previously served as Oracle's Chief Financial Officer from March 1991 to July 2004. Larry Ellison has been our Chief Executive Officer and a director since he founded Oracle in June 1977. Long time, a long time. Don Lucas was the Director of Oracle since March 1980. He is currently the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. He also is a member of the independent committee, and Don has been a self-employed venture capitalist since 1967, also a long time.

So Dr. Michael Boskin has been a Director of Oracle since April 1994. He is currently Vice Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee and a member of the Nomination and Governance Committee. Michael is the Tully M. Friedman Professor of Economics and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow at Stanford University. Jeff Berg has been a director since February 1997 and is currently a member of the Nomination and Governance Committee. He is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of International Creative Management, Inc., one of the largest talent agencies in the entertainment industry.

Safra Catz has been a director since October 2001 and is a President and the Chief Financial Officer of Oracle. Hector Garcia-Molina has been a director since October 2001 and is currently a member of the Independence Committee. He is the Leonard Bosack and Sandra Lerner Professor in the Departments of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University.

Ray Bingham has been director since November 2002 and serves as the chair of both the Nomination and Governance Committee and the Independence Committee, and is a member of the Finance & Audit committee. He is an Advisory Director of General Atlantic LLC, a leading global private equity firm.

Naomi Seligman has been a director since November 2005, and is currently a member of the Compensation Committee. She's a Senior Partner at Ostriker von Simson, a leading technology research firm, which chairs the CIO strategy exchange. George Conrades has been director since January 2008 and is currently a member of the Nomination and Governance Committee and Compensation Committee. He is Chairman of Akamai technologies and previously served as Akamai's Chief Executive Officer.

Bruce Chizen has been a director since July 2008, is currently the Chair of the Compensation Committee and an alternate member of the Finance and Audit committee. He's an independent consultant and serves as a senior advisor to Permira Advisers LLP, a leading private equity firm and a venture partner at Voyager Capital. He previously served as Adobe's Chief Executive Officer.

Mark Hurd has been a director since September 2010 and is a President of Oracle. Prior to joining Oracle, he was Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Company.

Seated next to me is Dorian Daley, Oracle's general counsel and secretary. Also present today are 2 representatives from Ernst & Young LLP, our independent registered public accounting firm, Alex Bender and David Cabral. Prior to this meeting we asked if they wish to make any statement at today's meeting, and they indicated that while they will not make a formal presentation, they would be glad to respond to any questions during the question-and-answer period.

Finally, we are assisted today by Joshua McGinn, a representative of BNY Mellon Shareholder Services, our inspector of elections in the tabulation of proxies and ballots. The minutes of last year's annual meeting are available, and any stockholder wishing to inspect the minutes should contact our corporate secretary.

Okay, so now let's move on to the formal portion of the meeting. Dorian Daley will now report on the mailing of the notice of this meeting.

Dorian Daley

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This meeting is held pursuant to a notice dated August 26, 2011. On or about August 26, 2011, each stockholder of record as of the close of business on August 15, 2011, was sent either a notification of Internet availability of proxy materials or the notice itself. All documents concerning notice of the meeting will be filed with the records of the meeting. A proof of mailing and a list of stockholders entitled to vote are both available for inspection by any stockholder wishing to do so.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Dorian will now advise whether a quorum is present at the meeting and canvass the stockholders present. Those stockholders who have returned proxies have authorized the persons identified in the proxies to vote on the proposals coming before the meeting.

Dorian Daley

On the record date, there were 5,058,717,014 shares of Oracle's common stock issued outstanding and entitled to vote at this meeting. A majority of these shares is present in person or by proxy and therefore, a quorum is necessary to transact business is present. If you have a proxy to be voted at this meeting that has not been delivered to the inspector of elections, you should register your name with the monitors and show them the proxy.

If you have submitted a proxy but now wish to withdraw the proxy and submit a new proxy or vote in person, you should register with the monitors if you have not already done so. And if you have not submitted a proxy and you wish to vote in person, you should now register with the monitors, if you have not already done so. Please raise your hand if you need to register your name with the monitors, or if you require any assistance with your ballot or your proxy.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Okay, thanks, Dorian. I hereby declare a quorum is present at this meeting. On behalf of the Board of Directors of Oracle I would like to express my appreciation to all stockholders who returned their proxies or submitted ballots. There are 5 items of business on the agenda for this year's meeting, 4 managed proposals and 1 stockholder proposal. Final vote totals for each of the proposals voted upon today will be made publicly available in the next few days.

So I'll start with the management proposals. The first matter to be acted upon by the stockholders is the election of 12 directors to serve until the next Annual Meeting of Stockholders. I've just introduced the nominees recommended by the Board of Directors and additional information about them is in the proxy statement. Nominations are now in order.

Unknown Speaker

I nominate Jeff Henley, Lawrence Ellison, Donald Lucas, Michael Boskin, Jeffrey Berg, Safra Catz, Hector Garcia-Molina, Ray Bingham, Naomi Seligman, George Conrades, Bruce Chizen and Mark Hurd.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Is there a second to these nominations?

Unknown Speaker

I second the nomination

Jeffrey O. Henley

Okay, it's been moved and seconded that the nominees be elected Directors of Oracle. Will the secretary now announce the results of the vote?

Dorian Daley

Each nominee for election to the Board of Directors has received an affirmative vote of a majority of oracles outstanding shares of common stock present and entitled to vote at this meeting.

Jeffrey O. Henley

So I hereby declare that all the nominees for director have been duly elected. The next item of business is the nonbinding advisory vote by stockholders on the compensation paid to Oracle's named executive officers, as disclosed in Oracle's proxy statement, filed in connection with this meeting. This is what is commonly referred to as Say-on-Pay vote. Will the secretary please indicate the results of the voting?

Dorian Daley

Based on preliminary numbers available at the start of this meeting, 2,620,926,348 shares or approximately 66% of shares represented at this meeting and entitled to vote, voted for the Say on Pay resolution.1,313,224,828 shares or approximately 33% of the shares represented at this meeting and entitled to vote, voted against the Say on Pay resolution. And 13,188,311 or approximately less than 1% of the shares represented at this meeting and entitled to vote abstained.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Thank you. The nonbinding advisory vote on Oracle's compensation program for executive officers is hereby noted. The next item of business is the nonbinding advisory vote by stockholders on the frequency of future Say on Pay votes. Stockholders were given the option on selecting a frequency of 1 year, 2 years, 3 years or abstaining. The Board made no recommendation on this matter, and the frequency vote that receives the greatest number of votes will be considered the advisory vote of our stockholders. So will the secretary please indicate the results of the voting?

Dorian Daley

Based on preliminary numbers available at the start of this meeting, 2,381,067,553 shares or approximately 61% of shares represented at this meeting and entitled to vote, voted for a frequency of 1 year.51,471,540 shares or approximately 1% of shares represented at this meeting and entitled to vote voted for a frequency of 2 years.1,447,728,561 shares or approximately 37% of shares represented at this meeting and entitled to vote voted for a frequency of 3 years, and 22,817,419 shares abstained.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Thank you. The nonbinding advisory vote on the frequency of future Say on Pay is hereby noted. The next matter is the ratification of the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm by the Finance and Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. Is there a motion to ratify the appointment of Ernst & Young as our independent registered public accounting firm?

Unknown Speaker

I move to ratify the appointment of Ernst & Young as Oracle's independent registered public accounting firm.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Is there a second to this motion?

Unknown Speaker

I second the motion.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Okay, it's been moved and seconded to ratify the appointment of Ernst & Young as our independent registered public accounting firm. Will the Secretary now announce the results of the vote.

Dorian Daley

This proposal receive the affirmative vote of a majority of Oracle's outstanding shares of common stock present and entitled to vote at this meeting.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Okay, the appointment of Ernst & Young to audit the financial statements of Oracle and its subsidiaries for fiscal year 2012 has been duly ratified. The final matter being submitted for stockholders for action is the adoption of the proposal submitted for the third year in a row by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, a stockholder of Oracle. The proposal requests that the Compensation Committee of the board adopt a policy requiring that senior executives retain at least 75% of the shares acquired through equity compensation programs until 2 years following the termination of their employment. We understand that David Henry [ph] and Will Alana [ph] represent the Nathan Cummings foundation at this meeting. Is Mr. Henry [ph] or Mr. Alana [ph] present?

Unknown Speaker

Yes.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Okay. So pursuant to the rules of conduct for the meeting, you'll have 5 minutes to present the proposal and move for its adoption.

Unknown Speaker

Good morning. My name is David Henry, [ph] and I'm here on behalf of Nathan Cummings Foundation to move proposal #5, which focuses on executive stock retention beyond retirement. Specifically, the proposal asks Oracle to adopt a policy requiring executives to hold 75% of their shares gained through compensation plans for the term of their employment until 2 years after termination of employment. The Foundation has asked me to give the following statement on its behalf.

The Nathan Cummings Foundation and a growing number of institutional investors believe that holding shares through retirement promotes long-term shareholder value. It does so by aligning the interests of executives and stockholders, by encouraging a long-term focus and reducing risk-taking as executives approach retirement. And it provides a continuing and growing incentive to work towards superior performance. A number of studies have found that high levels of executive stock ownership are directly correlated with better returns. A study in the Harvard Business Review found that the most powerful link between stockholder wealth and executive wealth is direct stock ownership by its CEO. It's also found that companies with high percentage of ownership by CEOs, excluding options, substantially outperform other companies with higher CEO pay.

Oracle's Board cites the company's newly strengthened stock ownership guidelines as one reason why the company does not need to establish a retention ration and holding period for its named executive officers. While the Foundation welcomes the strengthened guidelines, it does not believe they obviate the need for policies requested in its proposal.

In fact, the Foundation believes that the new stock ownership guidelines continue to be relatively meaningless when viewed in the context of the company's option programs for senior executives. The company's President, for example, was awarded options of 18 million shares over the last 4 years, yet under new guidelines, she's only required to own 100,000 shares. This requirement is equal to roughly 1/2 of 1% of the shares associated with the options she gained between 2007 and 2010, and there's a big difference between 1/2 of 1% and 75% retention required by the foundation's proposal.

As the Nathan Cummings Foundation has pointed out in the past, equity compensation is intended to align the interest of executives with those of the shareholders. The current requirement under the company's stock ownership guidelines, coupled with the lack of any retention requirements mean, in effect, that senior executives can exercise options and immediately sell virtually all of those options acquired, if they so desire. The intended alignment is not achieved.

The use of retention ratios in addition to ownership guidelines is an approach that is an increasing prevalence. According to a report by Frederic W. Cook & Co., 21% of companies in the S&P 100 have retention ratios in addition to stock ownership guidelines. We believe that Oracle would do well to implement a retention requirement in addition to its current ownership guidelines.

The foundation's proposal also calls for the establishment of a policy that includes a holding period, another requirement that is increasingly common among S&P 100 companies. Specifically, the Foundation suggests that senior executives hold shares until 2 years following the termination of their employment, although it would be willing to consider other periods suggested by the company.

As with the establishment of retention requirements, a growing number of leading companies are instituting holding periods along with their stock ownership guidelines. According to Equilar, the prevalence of holding requirements among S&P 100 companies hit 50% in 2010. The Nathan Cummings Foundation continues to believe that Oracle's current compensation structure could be improved by adoption of this proposal. It urges Oracle's Board to take the steps necessary to bring the company into line with the current best practices employed by a growing number of its peers in the S&P 100. Thank you.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Okay, thank you. The Board continues to oppose adoption of this stockholder proposal. A similar stockholder proposal was presented by the Nathan Cummings Foundation during the last 2 annual meetings and in both cases, was soundly defeated. We believe that we already incentivize our executives to maximize long-term stockholder value. Executives only realize value from their equity compensation, which is comprised solely of stock options, if our stock price rises and sustains its growth over time. Thus, the interest of our executives are already aligned with those of Oracle's stockholders.

Adoption of this program could have also the perverse result of encouraging successful executives to leave the company, so they can fully realize their equity awards. We believe the adoption of this proposal could significantly interfere with our compensation policies and our executives' ability to prudently manage their financial affairs. Consequently, the Board does not believe the proposal is in the best interest of Oracle or its stockholders and is recommended against this stockholder proposal.

It has been moved that the shareholder's proposal calling for equity retention beyond termination be approved. Will the secretary now announce the results of the vote.

Dorian Daley

This stockholder proposal was defeated by a majority of Oracle's outstanding shares of common stock present and entitled to vote at this meeting.

Jeffrey O. Henley

I hereby declare that the stockholder's proposal calling for equity retention beyond termination has been defeated. So this concludes the formal portion of the Annual Meeting. Is there a motion that this meeting be adjourned?

Unknown Speaker

I move that the meeting be adjourned.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Is there a second?

Unknown Speaker

I second.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Okay. It has been moved and seconded that the meeting be adjourned. Is there any opposition to the motion? Okay, the formal portion of the meeting is adjourned. So I will now give a brief business overview, financial overview of Oracle. Before moving on, the secretary will read our safe harbor statement.

Dorian Daley

Today's discussion may include expectations, predictions, estimates or other information that might be considered forward-looking. While these forward-looking statements represent our current judgment on what the future holds, they're subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect our opinions only as of the date of this presentation.

Please keep in mind that we're not obligating ourselves to revise or publicly release the results of any revisions of these forward-looking statements in light of new information or future events. Throughout today's discussion, we'll attempt to present some important factors relating to our business that may affect our predictions, and you should also review our most recent Form 10-K and Form 10-Q for a complete discussion of these factors and other risks that may affect our future results or the market price of our stock. A PDF copy of our related earnings, press releases and financial tables, which include a GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation can be viewed and downloaded on the Oracle Investor Relations website at www.oracle.com/investor.

Jeffrey O. Henley

Okay, thanks, Dorian. We're going to -- we'll jump through these slides real quickly. We've read -- oops somebody's calling me. That's not a good idea. First question, sorry, we won't take phone calls for the question. So we read -- Dorian has covered the first 2.

Okay, so let's start with Oracle's strategy. Basically, we've had a very evolutionary strategy over the year. Larry has promoted this idea of integration and building a bigger and bigger footprint over the year and we've done that through a lot of organic growth as well as acquisitions, particularly in the last few years. So today, we have a very, very deep stack starting at the bottom with our hardware storage servers, our virtual machine, operating systems, our database, our original business, middleware applications.

So not only do we have a great vertical stack, but it is best-of-breed. It's open standards. It's engineered for tremendous performance as many of you -- if you've listen to some of our recent announcements about the accessories [ph]. And the other thing is that -- and we'll, probably cover that. She's in the questions, if you want to talk about the cloud. Also -- it's also offered in a lot of different ways. You can use our software on-premise but you -- increasingly, customers can use it in the private cloud, public cloud or we call it, hybrid cloud.

So we have long tried ourselves and having these best-of-breed products, and this is just a small list of the #1 market position we have in a whole variety of areas and, obviously, led by our database where we have long had #1 market share, and that continues to grow, but many, many other areas.

Oracle has gotten much larger over the years, so it's a significant company -- global company these days. Last fiscal year ended in May, we did $36 billion in revenue. We have a lot of many, many hundreds of thousands of customers all over the world, 20,000 partners, almost 110,000 employees, many, many developers around the world. And clearly, when you're in the business we're in, it all gets around having great products and having lots of innovation. And we pride ourselves with doing a tremendous amount of innovation and constantly changing the game, which you have to do to continue to be successful in this industry.

So this is a comparison of our fiscal year '11 that ended in May compared to the previous fiscal year. And once again, we had terrific performance. Again, a couple of these charts, there's some GAAP data. But for the most part, as I show these trends and things, it'll be non-GAAP. And as we said earlier, there's public charts that compare GAAP versus non-GAAP.

Internally, we tend to look at non-GAAP because we think that's the best way of really looking at how we're really performing, and we tend to look a lot at constant currency as opposed to -- because there's changes and fluctuations in currencies. But for last year, another terrific year in terms of revenue and earnings growth and free cash flow growth. So the board continues to be very pleased with the performance of the management team and the company.

In the first quarter, we got off to a terrific start, and again, there are concerns about the economy around the world, and we all read about that. But at this point, the company continues to do well and we see a lot of customers who are selling to corporations, not consumers. And many of the corporations today, despite some of the uncertainties, are continuing to buy our products.

The growth in revenue over the last 5 years has been in excess of 20%, and this is the kind of the split of what we call our lines of business. So our software business including our updates is the largest at 41%. Last year, we didn't yet have -- did we have a full year last year? We did last year. But the hardware business is a much smaller percentage at this point. Our service business at 13%. Actually, you have to combine the hardware and the software, so it's about 20%. But it's still significantly less than our software business. And we tend to look at our software business really the combination of our licenses and our license updates and support, so that business is more than 3x the size of our hardware business at this point.

We have very balanced license growth, both in our technology, our database and middleware and so forth and our applications, so we have great balance geographically. We have great balance in our products, and this is, again, the geographic numbers that shows the amount of revenue in the 3 different geographies, but again, very good growth in all these geographies. So I think that balance, financial strength, consistency is a hallmark of what you're seeing coming out of Oracle.

And on the new software license growth, again, good geographic compounded growth over a longer period of time, not just the last year and the last quarter, but over the last 5 years. And the same can be said of our license updates and support, our largest business, if you will, and very significant continued growth. Earnings, we set a goal a number of years ago, I think more than 5 years ago, of doing more than 20% a year, and we're happy to say that we've continued to be able to do that. And the cash flow very closely tracks the earnings growth.

So I think in this business, it very strongly correlated to our earnings growth, and it's very important. Obviously, in the end, the earnings are important but cash is king, and cash growth is important and it's doing very well here at Oracle.

As the company's gotten very much bigger, we continue to scale up our research and development. So last year we spent $4.5 billion on research and development. And then we've become more acquisitive in the last 7 years or so, and so this is a list of different brands or different companies that we've acquired, different logos displayed here. And they've been all over the stack, a number of applications, acquisitions, middleware acquisitions, database companies, operating systems and the Sun, storage and service as well as the Solaris operating system.

So the net is that we're doing really well and certainly, have a very strong balance sheet, high return on equity and assets, a lot of cash, a very modest debt-to-equity ratio. And net cash is really when you take the total cash and subtract the debt. So on the net cash, we have more -- significantly more cash obviously, than the debt. The only reason we've had debt last year is just to finance some of the short term-based finance some of the acquisitions we've made.

So we think that we continue to have a terrific business franchise. We're the world's most complete, open and integrated combined business software and hardware company. You've seen the numbers. And while there's no guarantees of the future, we feel that we're very well-positioned to continue to do well in the future. We get lots of questions about how the stock does.

The stock is -- does well based -- somewhat reflective of how well we do as a company. But obviously, it can get impacted by the economy, by [indiscernible] in the stock market. So this, over the last few years, is a measure of how we've compared to many of the large cap text stocks and we're pleased to say we've done well on a relative basis.

And in terms of broader market indices, NASDAQ, S&P, again, over the last few years have continued to outperform the market in general. So that's the short presentation. We've not come to the part of the agenda providing for a general questions and discussion. Anyone wishing to address the meeting should rise or raise your hand for recognition. Please state your name and indicate whether you are stockholder or a proxy for a stockholder, and proceed with your question. Please limit your questions or comments to 2 minutes. We will answer as many questions as possible until we run out of time.

I'll turn the mic now to Larry Ellison, our Chief Executive Officer.

Question-and-Answer Session

Lawrence J. Ellison

Thank you, Jeff. Okay, gentleman in the second row on the aisle.

Unknown Speaker

My name is Christian Grant [ph]. I'm a stockholder. I see some $1 billion opportunities and I wanted to hear your opinion. IBM is earning billions of dollars on their on-demand cloud business by exploiting high-performance Oracle products, such as Java. And Google is exploiting developers by charging 30% of their revenues for using Android-based solutions, which is also based on Oracle's Java. In addition, NVIDIA's CEO has said that 3 to 4 years -- in 3 to 4 years, their fast mobile processors will have around 32 core, so 1,000 of them would be 32,000 cores, which would fit in a carry-on case. Such a best-of-breed exaDroid [ph], supercluster running Android could have 1,000 Wi-Fi connections and 64 terabytes of storage. Other megabillion businesses in the telecom ecosystem are exploiting Oracle's Java. Shouldn't Oracle charge them 30% of their revenues, like Google, for using their tremendous innovative technologies, or billions of dollars in extra software license revenues? This would allow Oracle to invest much more cash in Java research and development. What is your perspective?

Lawrence J. Ellison

Well, we already have a multibillion-dollar highly profitable Java business with Java on computers, and we're discussing the use of Java and Android with Google and the federal courts.

Unknown Speaker

Mr. Ellison, I have a question regarding the dividends we get. I'm a long time stockholder, 2,000 shares, and I'd like to know in the plans you have, are you going to increase our dividend?

Lawrence J. Ellison

Again, Oracle started a dividend a short while ago, and we've increased that dividend once. And it's really up to market conditions whether we continue to increase the dividend, we increased our share buyback, we make more acquisitions. The are several trade-offs as to what we can do with our cash. One of those things is dividends. And we will collectively try to do what is best for our shareholders. If that's increasing the dividend, and that's what we perceive as increasing the dividend, that's what we'll do. If an increased share buyback seemingly is better off for our shareholders, we'll increase the share buyback. If there's an attractive acquisition, we'll use our cash that way. So I can't tell you exactly what we're going to do next. It really depends on market conditions and us pursuing the most efficient opportunity with -- for uses of our cash.

Unknown Speaker

Tony Vezapelli [ph], shareholder. First, I'm very sorry to hear about Steve Jobs. I know you were a very personal friend of his. And I even think he impacted this company. He was an amazing person. I saw that when I worked at Apple in 1979. So I was happy in 1997 when I heard that this company or executives from this company might buy a huge part or all of that company. I wrote to participate in that, and I got an e-mail back from a certain executive from this company. I was elated. I'm sorry that didn't happen and I'm sorry about last week. My main question is about IBM versus Oracle's business model. We have a full stack of standard products with high technology versus IBM, which has software, big iron and a huge service group. But over the last 5 years, their return on equity, their financial performance on return on assets, return on capital has been superior to ours, and I think that's been reflected in their stock performance, which has been double ours. And that surprises me because in my mind, standard package products should win. We develop a standard product once and sell many copies, a service model you develop once and sell once. So we should have lower costs and always win. I'm surprised that we're not really killing IBM really fast. What am I not understanding about that?

Lawrence J. Ellison

Well, IBM is a great company. We have very different strategy. IBM is really becoming more of a service company than a technology company. So the center of gravity in today's IBM is really IBM Global Services. The center of gravity at Oracle is really our engineering teams and innovating and creating new products. So we believe that we want to do exactly what you said. We want to build a great product once and then sell it to as many people as we can, whether it's storage or a server or a network product or an operating system, virtual machine or database and all of our different applications. So we're really focused on products at the center of what we do, they're focused on services. Now we also have services, they also have products. We think over the long term, if you look at our stock performance, if you look at our profit margins, if you look at our growth rates, we're growing much faster than IBM. Our top line -- our revenue's growing much faster than IBM. Our profits are growing much faster than IBM. Our margins are much higher than IBM's. If you look at modern software, you'll see we're doing -- if you factor out their legacy mainframe business, you'll see we are #1 not only in database but also in middleware, and IBM's hardly in the application business at all. So IBM is no longer the #2 software company in the world behind Microsoft. We are the #2 software company in the world, and IBM's fallen to #3. So their stock has done relatively well over the last few years, by the way, not better than ours, about the same according to Jeff's slide, the same growth around 46% growth. But a lot of that's been due to IBM's strategy of large share buybacks. And we have not done similarly large share buybacks. Instead, we tried to expand our intellectual property portfolio by making strategic acquisitions. So I think we're doing extremely well against IBM by almost any measure you can find. So -- and I think we'll continue to do well against them in the years to come because, again, we have huge technology advantages versus IBM in the software area. And now, with our new T4 microprocessor, beginning to have those same advantages in hardware.

Unknown Speaker

I'm Shelton Ehrlich [ph], a shareholder. All right, ready? I guess this will be the last time I get to speak against the Nathan Cummings Foundation proposal.

Lawrence J. Ellison

Oh, I think they'll be back next year.

Unknown Speaker

No, 3 years is the limit on these kinds of things. They'll have to change the proposal. Nathan Cummings would be ashamed of what's become of his foundation. It's sad. I was in the Cummings Art Building on Stanford's campus a couple of weeks ago thinking about this issue. My question is to Mr. Ellison. I noticed that your salary for this year is $1. Doesn't that mean...

Lawrence J. Ellison

And that dollar is not what it was -- worth what it was last year, I'd like to point out.

Unknown Speaker

Doesn't that mean that you're going to pay a lower...

Lawrence J. Ellison

Much weaker dollar this year.

Unknown Speaker

Okay. It's at 72, I think, in the market. Doesn't that mean that you're going to pay a lower tax rate than your secretary?

Lawrence J. Ellison

My secretary makes a lot of money, and I'm really not sure. Let me comment on the Nathan Cummings proposal, and the thing that's most disturbing about it is the holding period of 2 years after you resign. Let's say one of our senior executives had some kind of financial problem and they needed cash. The only thing they could do is quit. Only way to get quick cash is to quit. That's really an astonishingly awful idea to create huge incentives to get out of -- the only way you get your money is to get the hell out. That's a bizarre, bizarre proposal. Who thought of this?

Unknown Speaker

Leonard Squire [ph], I am a shareholder for many years. This question is for Mr. Ellison. It is with great reluctance and 0 expectation of a meaningful answer that I...

Lawrence J. Ellison

Thank you for setting the bar so high.

Unknown Speaker

That I ask you if you have any comments whatever regarding Hewlett-Packard and specifically Oracle's interest in acquiring them.

Lawrence J. Ellison

Well, what an interesting question. Well, I don't run Hewlett-Packard. Ray Lane runs Hewlett-Packard. I'll quote Ray Lane, "This is my board, this is my team. " And they selected a new CEO, and this is Ray's strategy, his team, his company. So I suggest we all watch very closely. I know how good Ray is, now everyone gets to see it. Next question? Oh, I guess we're done. Thank you very much. We're finished, okay.

Jeffrey O. Henley

I think we are. Thanks very much.

Lawrence J. Ellison

Thank you.

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Source: Oracle Corporation - Shareholder/Analyst Call
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