Let's start with Larry's interview. See: Larry's Interview. Now you have to take it all with grain of salt, but you can be sure that what is being said has been crafted with the utmost care by Oracle's army of sales geniuses.
Let's grab some quotes and make some observations...:
"One of the important things about our Fusion applications is they're designed to run not simply just on-premise, which of course they do, but they're on-demand- or, if you prefer, cloud-ready."
Oracle is right that SOA technology needs to enable cloud-based applications to expose their services into the enterprise. The questions to ask is: is this J2EE on the cloud? Maybe... And if it is, is it really spectacular or unique? I hope not - Oracle cornering J2EE on the cloud would be a CIO's nightmare. Adding "Cloud use Audits" to the infamous "CPU audits" would add insult to injury.
"In applications, SAP is the leader. But their technology that they use for applications is a proprietary technology—a German programming language called ABAP. That's a 25-year-old technology that's still the center of their architecture and strategy for applications going forward, this ABAP," Ellison said. "The center of our strategy going forward is Java and a modern service-oriented architecture. And during this calendar year we will deliver our Fusion applications—we're been working on them for a while and we have rewritten, or written, in Java all of our accounting software, all of our supply chain software, all of our HR software, our sales automation, our service-automation software—has all been rewritten in Java with a modern service-oriented architecture. And we're gonna go compete with SAP's 25-year-old technology."
The levels of “mis-indirection” here are outstanding! Let’s see:
· Java is not 25 years old – in fact, at 14 years old it is hardly cutting edge.
· ABAP is an enterprise application framework, Java is a programming language
· Oracle porting legacy code to Java from C and C++ is a good thing. But it is still legacy client server fixed logic technology with a new portal UI and integration layer (Oracle’s version of SOA).
· The fact that these Oracle applications were not rebuilt from first principle on a framework (like J2EE) should make any CIO worry.
· Finally, though SAP’s bundle of ABAP and J2EE into NetWeaver may be imperfect, somewhat outdated, and hugely expensive to implement – it is still a framework in which the CIO gets a modicum of responsiveness to its business.
"We think SAP is vulnerable and we can take them on in a variety of industries. The other thing that we're doing is SAP is not doing is emphasizing industry functionalities. So it's not just technology where we're competing with SAP—we're also competing with them on functionality,"
Here Larry shows his cards. Oracle has deliberately bought industry specific assets – most from the huge herds of 1990 IPO monkeys that ultimately failed. Oracle bought "industry practice" and has made it clear that it sells pre-automated business practice where the unifying principle is the relational database. But unlike a Wikipedia, where editing in new knowledge is easy, getting old, hard-wired software to do new things is horrendously expensive and Oracle has made no real progress on this front in the last 8 years.
SAP's problem, Ellison said, is that it has "a strategy that goes nowhere":
I would say that it is Oracle's strategy that takes its customer nowhere. It takes them to where they were 10 years ago and claims porting to Java is a way out. Yeah, right. Oracle will someday have to take on a framework approach and truly rewrite its applications. To do so, it will have to spend an absolute fortune. To amass this fortune Oracle will have to exact a pound of flesh from its customers – or maybe just their CIO’s. And Larry knows these guys are expendable.