Judson Althoff: What Microsoft Gains, What Oracle Loses

As Judson Althoff jumps from Oracle to Microsoft, here's what Microsoft gains, and here's how the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialized program will march forward.

The VAR Guy

March 27, 2013

2 Min Read
Judson Althoff: What Microsoft Gains, What Oracle Loses

As Judson Althoff jumps from Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) to Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), it’s a prime reminder that loyalties can change fast in the IT market. So what does Microsoft gain and Oracle lose? The VAR Guy has known Althoff and his Oracle channel lieutenants since around 2008, and our resident blogger has tracked Microsoft since 1992. So… here’s a snapshot at why this move is so darn dramatic. Microsoft scores a big win. But don’t weep for Oracle. The company has a very deep channel bench. Here’s the background.

Certainly, Microsoft is celebrating Althoff’s arrival. As Microsoft Channel Chief Jon Roskill stated in an email to The VAR Guy:

“I am excited to have Judson joining the Microsoft team. I look forward to working with him. I think this is a good datapoint for all who work in Channel positions. It is another recognition point of the value of Channel experience.”

Indeed, Althoff is formerly Oracle’s channel chief — building a high-value partner ecosystem even as Oracle sold aggressively and directly to large accounts. Over and over again, Althoff oversaw the integration of Oracle acquisitions into the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialized program. Instead of getting caught up in software religious wars involving MySQL, OpenOffice, and other open source offerings that Oracle inherited through M&A, Althoff kept the company and its partners focused on high-margin opportunities — including the Oracle Database Appliance and Engineered Systems.

Joining Microsoft on March 29, Althoff will be president, North America Sales and Marketing, and corporate VP. So what ultimately does Microsoft gain? And what does Oracle lose?

Microsoft Impact:

  • Detailed-oriented executive who is used to pressure-cooker sales environment.

  • M&A expert who understands how to empower sales teams with newly acquired products.

  • Training and certification expert who knows how to get partner and customer ecosystem focused on higher-margin opportunities.

  • Enterprise veteran who knows how to deal with large accounts and massive partners.

Oracle Impact:

  • Actually, let’s not panic here folks. Oracle has a very deep channel bench.

  • The OPN Specialized partner program was largely overhauled by mid-2012 and is now in fine-tuning mode.

  • The channel and alliance team includes such key names as Joel Borellis, Gary Koopman, Tom LaRocca and Lydia Smyers (among many others).

  • Proving that Oracle’s channel team marches forward, the company today launched enablement and OPN Specialization resources for Oracle’s new SPARC T5 and M5 servers. Borellis was quoted in the announcement.

Don’t forget: Oracle survived (actually, thrived) after previous executive departures like Ray Lane and Charles Phillips. Althoff was important to Oracle’s partner success, but the OPN Specialized machine is built and has a lot of experts who will continue to fine-tune the system.

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