CloudWorld, Oracle’s rebranded user conference, kicks off this week in Las Vegas. The venue change during Covid also changed the vibe of the conference that once dominated San Francisco, but it’s for the best.
For years, accommodating everything Oracle had to say and do required shutting down streets and covering them with outdoor conference venues to extend the renovated Moscone Center.
In a nutshell, Oracle outgrew San Francisco a while ago, and taking up residence in Las Vegas makes sense. Orlando might have made sense too, but did someone say it’s hurricane season?
Oracle has grown in an unusual way. Many tech companies start with innovation and extend it as far as is humanly possible. Take Apple, for example. After all these years, Apple is still fundamentally a hardware company. They might have operating systems and apps but only as many as needed to support the hardware.
Whether it’s desktops, iPads, iPhones, or watches, Apple makes computing gear and continues to invent new hardware niches. Good for them, hardware has made them one of the biggest companies in the world.
Oracle Took a Very Different Path
Oracle evolved in whatever ways were needed to support database sales and performance. Apps lived on the database and, as such, were a natural extension.
The company also grew in part by acquisition.
Hardware supports database speed and agility, so Oracle bought a hardware firm, Sun Microsystems, and used it as the platform for accelerating its database.
Today accelerating what the database does is increasingly subject to and dependent on analytics. So, Oracle became an analytics company too.
On the way to the Fusion apps showcased this week, it bought various front and back-office companies that served as its first versions. The buying activity brought in a host of applications talent too.
Also, it was a hard lesson, but the company finally got the message that all of its customers together can innovate faster than it can, meaning Oracle cannot be the only source of application truth.
Consequently, the company has done a lot to promote programming with Java and to provide customers with the tools its developers use to go the last mile in any customer situation. That’s highlighted this week too.
All this and more are why (how?) Oracle outgrew San Francisco. CloudWorld is more than a one-customer event; many customers are sending teams of people the better to absorb gear, apps, databases, and everything else new.
Back to growth. Apple has matured into a hardware behemoth. On the other hand, Oracle has matured into a very big generalist. In some ways, you can think of them as the general store of technology — if they don’t have it, you probably don’t need it.
Oracle competes with loads of other companies in hardware, database, applications, and other areas. But if you had to pick one tech company to be stuck on a desert island with, it would have to be Oracle, simply because of how they’ve spread out. They are the latter-day Ford or General Motors, and if you had to rename the company suddenly, you could do worse than calling them General Technology.
Come to think of it, we’re all on desert islands today, existing in a sea of cloud connectivity. Pardon the mixed metaphor — but it’s true — and the reason that a couple hundred thousand people are checking in and tuning in this week.
So, it’s off to LVNV. More to follow, stay tuned.