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When Oracle announced quarterly results today, the news supplied some important clues about Oracle's management of Sun Microsystems. Listen closely and you'll hear how Oracle President Charles Phillips (pictured) and Channel Chief Judson Althoff need to balance partner messaging. Oh, and don't forget to check our Larry Ellison's latest jabs at SAP. Here are the details. First, the pure news. For fiscal Q3 2010, Oracle says...

The VAR Guy

March 25, 2010

3 Min Read
Oracle Quarterly Results Provide Sun, Partner Clues

When Oracle announced quarterly results today, the news supplied some important clues about Oracle’s management of Sun Microsystems. Listen closely and you’ll hear how Oracle President Charles Phillips (pictured) and Channel Chief Judson Althoff need to balance partner messaging. Oh, and don’t forget to check our Larry Ellison’s latest jabs at SAP. Here are the details.

First, the pure news. For fiscal Q3 2010, Oracle says…

  • New software licenses rose 13%, and application sales were up 21%.

  • CEO Larry Ellison claims Oracle is taking share from SAP. In a prepared statement, Ellison said: “Every quarter we grab huge chunks of market share from SAP. SAP’s most recent quarter was the best quarter of their year, only down 15%, while Oracle’s application sales were up 21%. But SAP is well ahead of us in the number of CEOs for this year, announcing their third and fourth, while we only had one.”

  • Oracle President Safra Catz added: “The Sun integration is going even better than we expected. We believe that Sun will make a significant contribution to our fourth quarter earnings per share as well as meet the profitability goals we set for next year.”

Oracle’s results certainly point to an upturn in corporate IT spending. And Oracle’s shares are trading near a 52-week high.

Impressive. But Oracle has to continue a careful channel balancing act. During an earnings call with Wall Street analysts today, Oracle President Charles Phillips reiterated the company’s efforts to take more enterprise business direct. Translation: The Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialized program is designed mainly for solutions providers serving midmarket and smaller customers.

The Channel View

Does Oracle Channel Chief Judson Althoff agree with that assessment? Althoff wasn’t available to comment. But it’s clear he continues to work overtime on Oracle’s partner program commitments.

Listen closely enough, and you’ll hear chatter about a Partner Kickoff virtual event scheduled for June 2010. Plus, Oracle Group VP Jesse Chavez is pushing hard to bring more Sun partners into the OPN Specialized program.

Still, should partners worry about Oracle’s direct enterprise push? Hmmm… The strategy certainly is familiar. HP, IBM and SAP — just to name a few — balance direct enterprise engagements with indirect midmarket and SMB strategies.

Time will tell if Althoff and Phillips can deliver a similar balancing act at Oracle.

The SAP Factor

Meanwhile, Ellison certainly seems to believe Oracle has the upper hand against SAP. Financial stats suggest Oracle does have stronger momentum than SAP.

But anecdotal evidence at the recent SAP Partner Summit in Las Vegas suggests SAP has a pretty darn loyal partner base. So does Business Objects, SAP’s business intelligence arm.

Still, it’s hard to argue with today’s financial results from Oracle.

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