Key product exec departs Oracle, creating leadership roadblock for planned cloud dominance
- Oracle announced Thomas Kurian, president of product development, was resigning immediately from the company, with his duties being dispersed to other senior executives, according to an SEC filing Friday. Kurian was responsible for software development and moving the company's software to the Oracle Cloud, as well as overseeing the middleware product suite and next-generation business applications, according to his company profile.
- Kurian took a leave of absence in early September because of "growing strife" with co-founder and CEO Larry Ellison on the company's cloud business strategy, Bloomberg reported. Kurian reportedly pushed to make Oracle software more available on public clouds, including Amazon Web Services Cloud and Microsoft Azure, in order to "diversify from [Oracle's] own struggling infrastructure."
- Oracle's Q1 2019 revenues fell below analyst estimates in cloud services and license support — one of the company's largest segments. KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts lowered estimates for the company in coming quarters because its "move to the cloud is taking longer than expected ... and with reduced disclosures, we have lesser visibility into the company's progress," CNBC reported. Oracle stopped disclosing cloud infrastructure and platform revenues earlier this year.
Down a 22-year company veteran who was in charge of a major product segment, Oracle has to overcome a key leadership roadblock on Larry Ellison's warpath for cloud dominance.
Though technically a major cloud vendor, Oracle sits far behind Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Alibaba and IBM in the cloud infrastructure space, including infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and hosted private cloud. Vying to become a cloud leader, Oracle is trying to change perceptions and convince customers to adopt its cloud products.
In the company's latest earnings call, Ellison said that Oracle's future hinges around two strategic products: cloud ERP in software as a service applications and the autonomous cloud database in IaaS. Ellison boasted of a strong market position for his company, touting that "Oracle [is] well on its way to becoming the world's largest SaaS applications company" and "way ahead of Amazon in cloud infrastructure technology," if not in IaaS market share.
Oracle is currently the fourth largest enterprise SaaS vendor and a leader in the ERP market. Moving forward, the company needs to maintain its ERP and database standing.
The focus on autonomous capabilities is a move to convince customers of cloud benefits and move them from using Oracle capabilities on-prem to a cloud-based environment, which will reduce service costs and allow for easier maintenance.
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