Oracle Corporation specializes in developing and marketing enterprise software products — particularly database management systems. In 2007 Oracle ranked third on the list of largest software companies in the world, after Microsoft and IBM.
The corporation has arguably become best-known due to association with its flagship Oracle database. The company also builds tools for database development, middle-tier software, enterprise resource planning software (ERP), customer relationship management software (CRM) and supply chain management (SCM) software.
The founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation, Larry Ellison, has served as Oracle's CEO throughout the company's history. Ellison also served as the Chairman of the Board until his replacement by Jeffrey O. Henley in 2004. Ellison retains his role as CEO.
Ellison took inspiration from the 1970 paper written by Edgar F. Codd on relational database systems named "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks". He had heard about the IBM System R database from an article in the IBM Research Journal provided by Ed Oates (a future co-founder of Oracle Corporation). System R also derived from Codd's theories, and Ellison wanted to make his Oracle product compatible with System R, but IBM stopped this by keeping the error codes for their DBMS secret. Ellison co-founded Oracle Corporation in 1977 under the name Software Development Laboratories (SDL). In 1979 SDL changed its name to Relational Software, Inc. (RSI). In 1982, RSI renamed itself as Oracle Systems to align itself more closely with its flagship product Oracle Database. At this stage Robert Miner served as the company's senior programmer.
|Thinking Machines Corporation||Darwin, Datamining technology||N/A|
|Toplink||Object relation mapping technology||N/A|
|NetForce||Adverse Event Reporting System||N/A|
|Steltor||Enterprise calendaring system||N/A|
|Collaxa||Business Process Management||N/A|
|Retek||Retail Industry Solutions||$630|
|TripleHop||Context-sensitive Enterprise Search||N/A|
|TimesTen||Real-time Enterprise Solutions||N/A|
|ProfitLogic||Retail Industry Solutions||N/A|
|Context Media||Enterprise Content Integration||N/A|
|i-flex (Oracle Financial Services)||Banking Industry Solutions||$900|
|G-Log||Transportation Management Solutions||N/A|
|Innobase||Discrete Transactional Open Source Database Technology||N/A|
|Thor Technologies||Enterprise-wide User Provisioning Solutions.||N/A|
|OctetString||Virtual Directory Solutions||N/A|
|Temposoft||Workforce Management Applications||N/A|
|360Commerce||Retail Industry Solutions||N/A|
|Siebel Systems||Customer Relationship Management Solutions||$5,850|
|Sleepycat||Open Source Database Software for Embedded Applications||N/A|
|HotSip||Communications Infrastructure Solutions||N/A|
|Portal Software||Communications Industry Software Suite||$220|
|Net4Call||Communications Industry Service Delivery Platform||N/A|
|Demantra||Demand-driven Planning Solutions||N/A|
|Telephony@Work||IP-based Contact Center Technology||N/A|
|Sigma Dynamics||Real-time Predictive Analytics Software||N/A|
|Sunopsis||Enterprise Integration Software||N/A|
|MetaSolv Software||Communications Service Providers Solutions||$219|
|Stellent||Content Management Solutions||$440|
|SPL WorldGroup||Revenue and Operations Management Software||N/A|
|Hyperion Solutions||Enterprise Performance Management||$3,300|
| AppForge |
(intellectual assets only)
|Cross-platform handheld development||N/A|
|Agile Software Corporation||Product Life Cycle Management Software||$495|
|NetSure Telecom Ltd.||Network intelligence and optimization software||Undisclosed|
|Bridgestream||Enterprise Role Management||N/A|
|Moniforce||End-user experience management software||N/A|
|BEA Systems||Middleware software Company||$8,500|
|Captovation||Document capture software||N/A|
|Empirix (Web)||Web application testing software||N/A|
|LODESTAR Corporation||Utility software solutions||N/A|
|AdminServer||Insurance policy administration software||N/A|
|Skywire Software||Insurance software||N/A|
|Global Knowledge Software||Technical Writing/Training Authoring software||N/A|
|ClearApp||Application management solutions for composite applications software||N/A|
|Primavera Systems||Project Portfolio Management solutions software||N/A|
In 2004 Oracle Corporation shipped release 10g ("g" standing for "grid") as the then latest version of Oracle Database. (Oracle Application Server 10g using Java EE integrates with the server part of that version of the database, making it possible to deploy web technology applications. The application server comprises the first middle-tier software designed for grid computing. The strong interrelationship between Oracle 10g and Java has enabled the company to allow developers to set up stored procedures written in the Java language, as well as those written in the traditional Oracle database programming language, PL/SQL.)
Release 11g has started to replace release 10g.
BerkeleyDB offers embedded database processing.
Oracle Rdb, a relational database system, runs on OpenVMS platforms. Oracle acquired Rdb in 1994 from Digital Equipment Corporation. Oracle has since made many enhancements to this product and development continues today.
TimesTen features in-memory database operations.
Some database administrators (DBAs) use Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) to manage the DBMS. With Oracle Database version 10g, Oracle Corporation introduced a web-based rewrite of OEM called "Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Control". Oracle Corporation has dubbed the super Enterprise Manager used to manage a grid of multiple DBMS and Application Servers as "Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control".
From 2008, Oracle Beehive provides an integrated set of collaborative software services built on a single, scalable, open, and enterprise-class collaboration platform.
Oracle Corporation's tools for developing applications include Oracle Designer, Oracle Developer - which consists of Oracle Forms, Oracle Discoverer and Oracle Reports, Oracle JDeveloper - and several more. Many external and third-party tools make the Oracle database administrator's tasks easier.
Besides databases, Oracle also sells a suite of business applications. The Oracle eBusiness Suite includes software to perform financial- (Oracle Financials), manufacturing-, enterprise resource planning and HR- (Human Resource Management Systems) related functions (Oracle HR). Users can access these facilities through a browser interface over the Internet or via a corporate intranet.
Consequent to a number of high-value acquisitions beginning in 2003, especially in the area of applications, Oracle Corporation currently maintains a number of product lines:
Development of applications commonly takes place in Java (using Oracle JDeveloper) or through PL/SQL (using, for example, Oracle Forms and Oracle Reports). Oracle Corporation has started a drive toward "wizard"-driven environments with a view to enabling non-programmers to produce simple data-driven applications.
Around this time, Oracle technology started to lag technically behind that of Sybase. In 1990-1993 Sybase became the fastest-growing database company and the database industry's darling vendor, but soon fell victim to its merger mania and to technical issues with System X. Sybase's 1993 merger with PowerSoft resulted in its losing its focus on its core database technology. In 1993, Sybase sold the rights to its database software running under the Windows operating system to Microsoft Corporation, which now markets it under the name "SQL Server."
In 1994 Informix Software overtook Sybase and became Oracle's most important rival. The intense war between Informix CEO Phil White and Ellison made front-page news in Silicon Valley for three years. Ultimately, Oracle defeated Informix in 1997. In November 2005 a book detailing the war between Oracle and Informix appeared. The Real Story of Informix Software and Phil White provides a detailed chronology of the battle of Informix against Oracle, and how Informix Software's CEO Phil White landed in jail because of his obsession about overtaking Ellison.
Once it had overcome Informix and Sybase, Oracle Corporation enjoyed years of dominance in the database market until the rise of Microsoft's SQL Server in the late 1990s and IBM's acquisition of Informix Software in 2000 (to complement its DB2 database). Today Oracle's competes for new database licenses on UNIX, Linux, and Windows operating systems primarily against IBM's DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server (which only runs on Windows). IBM's DB2 still dominates the mainframe database market.
In 2004, Oracle's sales grew at a rate of 14.5% to $6.2 billion, giving it 41.3% and the top share of the relational-database market (InformationWeek - March, 2005), with market share estimated at up to 44.6% in 2005 by some sources. Oracle Corporation's main competitors in the database arena remain IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server, and to a lesser extent Sybase and Teradata , with open-source databases such as PostgreSQL and MySQL also having a significant share of the market. EnterpriseDB, based on PostgreSQL, has recently made inroads by proclaiming that its product delivers Oracle compatibility features at a much lower price-point.
In the software applications market, Oracle Corporation primarily competes against SAP. On March 22, 2007 Oracle sued SAP, accusing them of fraud and unfair competition.
In recent years, however, competition between Oracle and SAP has increased, and as a result, the rivalry between the two companies has grown, even developing into a feud between the co-founders of the two companies, where one party would frequently voice strong negative comments about the other company.
In 2004 Oracle began to increase its interest in the business of enterprise applications (in 1989, Oracle had already released Oracle Financials). A series of acquisitions by Oracle Corporation began, most notably those of PeopleSoft, Siebel and Hyperion).
SAP recognized that Oracle had started to become a competitor in a market where SAP had the leadership, and saw an opportunity to lure in customers from those companies that Oracle Corporation had acquired. SAP would offer those customers special discounts on the licenses for its enterprise applications. Oracle Corporation would resort to a similar strategy, by advising SAP customers to get "OFF SAP" (a play on the words of the acronym for its middleware platform "Oracle Fusion for SAP"), and also by providing special discounts on licenses and services to SAP customers who chose Oracle Corporation products.
Currently Oracle and SAP also compete in the third-party enterprise software maintenance and support market (the latter through its recently acquired subsidiary TomorrowNow). On March 22, 2007 Oracle filed a suit against SAP. The complaint alleged that TomorrowNow, which provides discount support for legacy Oracle product lines, used the accounts of former Oracle customers to systematically download patches and support documents from Oracle's website and to appropriate them for SAP's use. Some analysts have suggested the suit could form part of a strategy by Oracle Corporation to decrease competition with SAP in the market for third-party enterprise software maintenance and support.
On July 3, 2007 SAP admitted that TomorrowNow employees had made "inappropriate downloads" from the Oracle support web site. However, it claims that SAP personnel and SAP customers had no access to Oracle intellectual property via TomorrowNow. SAP's CEO Henning Kagermann stated that "Even a single inappropriate download is unacceptable from my perspective. We regret very much that this occurred." Additionally, SAP announced that it had "instituted changes" in TomorrowNow's operational oversight.
However, two weeks after its introduction in 2002, David Litchfield, Alexander Kornbrust, Cesar Cerrudo and others demonstrated a whole suite of successful attacks against Oracle products. Commentators criticized the slogan as unrealistic, and as an invitation to crackers. But Oracle Corporation's chief security officer Mary Ann Davidson portrayed the criticism as unfair. Rather than representing a literal claim of Oracle's products' impregnability, she saw the campaign in the context of fourteen independent security evaluations that Oracle Corporation's database server passed.
Oracle HQ stands on the former site of Marine World Africa USA, which moved from Redwood Shores to Vallejo in 1986. Oracle Corporation originally leased two buildings on the site, moving its finance and administration departments from the corporation's former headquarters in Davis Drive, Belmont, California. Eventually, Oracle purchased the complex and constructed a further four main buildings.
Note also Larry Ellison's yachting sponsorship using the "Oracle" name: Oracle BMW Racing.
In 1997, Larry Ellison became a director of Apple Computer after Steve Jobs came back to that company. Ellison resigned in 2002, saying that he did not have the time to attend necessary formal board meetings.
Oracle using Internet to distribute products - honor system payment sought. (Personal Oracle 7 software) (Evaluation)
Jan 09, 1995; Oracle Corp. says it will begin distributing Personal Oracle 7, a scaled-down version of its corporate database product, directly...
Novell, Oracle expand product integration, offer free upgrades to Oracle 7 and netware 4. (Novell Inc.; Oracle Corp.)
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Oracle passes early test; Telecom Australia likes features in new DBMS. (Oracle 7.0 data base management system) (Field Report)
Jul 01, 1992; Telecom Australia likes features in new DBMS Telecom Australia, in Melbourne, has completed an intensive eight-month test of an...