Oracle’s Action-Packed Fortnight

It was a busy fortnight for Oracle, which completed its acquisition of Siebel, shipped new releases of Application Server 10g and JDeveloper 10g, and announced two new acquisitions, to boot.

It has been a busy fortnight for Oracle Corp., which completed its acquisition of the former Siebel Systems Inc., announced a new Release 3 edition of its Application Server 10g and JDeveloper 10g tools, and announced two new acquisitions, too.

Oracle’s mostly friendly acquisition last year of Siebel was a CRM market bombshell on par with its less-than-amicable pursuit, nearly three years ago, of former enterprise applications kingpin PeopleSoft Inc. Late last month, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison hyped the completion of the Siebel acquisition with typical sangfroid. “Oracle is now the undisputed leader in Customer Relationship Management software," Ellison said in a statement. “Oracle's focus on modern, standards-based applications and middleware is moving us into a leadership position in applications and on-demand services. Siebel accelerates that move.”

Officials stressed that at the new Oracle—as at former CRM champ Siebel—customers are priority number one. That may very well be the case, but all isn’t sweetness and light for at least one of the former Siebel’s most customer-centric technology assets and its more than thirty employees.

Last week—on Valentine’s Day, no less—Oracle disclosed plans to divest itself of Siebel’s OnTarget business unit. OnTarget, a part of Siebel University (Siebel’s training arm), is a sales training and methodology consultancy that, officials claim, has trained more than 100,000 sales professionals.

According to officials, OnTarget—at this point alone among the former Siebel properties—wasn’t going to fit into the post-acquisition landscape. “Oracle believes that for the right company OnTarget is a very valuable asset," said Douglas Kehring, Oracle’s senior vice president of corporate development, in a statement. What will become of OnTarget? It looks like the auction block, for sure: “Numerous parties have already expressed interest in acquiring the operation and we expect to complete the divestiture this spring.”

After closing the books on its Siebel acquisition, Oracle announced plans to eliminate as many as 2,000 jobs—the bulk of which will affect its own workforce (i.e., not former Siebel employees).

Oracle Announces New Application Server Middleware; Larry’s Spending Spree

It’s been an especially busy sennight for Oracle. Last week, the database giant announced new 10g R3 releases of its Application Server and JDeveloper tools. Both deliverables are part of Oracle’s hugely anticipated Project Fusion SOA middleware initiative, which aims to reconcile the disparate codebases of its J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Oracle applications.

Oracle made a number of notable acquisitions in 2005. There was Siebel, of course, but Mr. Ellison & Co. also nabbed retail specialists ProfitLogic and Retek, along with in-memory database specialist TimesTen.

Last week, Oracle announced an acquisition in a TimesTen-like vein, picking up privately held SleepyCat Software Inc., developer of an embedded open-source database solution called Berkeley DB, for an undisclosed sum.

Oracle’s latest acquisition will complement the former TimesTen technologies (which the database giant pitches for high performance in-memory applications) and Oracle’s Lite embedded database, which it markets for mobile devices. Oracle says Berkeley DB is the most widely used open-source database in the world, with an estimated deployment of more than 200 million instances. It’s embedded in the open source Linux and BSD operating systems, as well as the Apache Web server, OpenLDAP directory, and OpenOffice productivity software.

Also last week, Oracle nabbed a non-data management player, Swedish ISV HotSip AB, which develops telecommunications infrastructure software and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) enabled applications.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.