Oracle's Larry Ellison: IBM and SAP were our biggest competitors but 'we no longer pay any attention' to them


Oracle Larry Ellison

Business Insider

Oracle chairman and CTO Larry Ellison

Oracle's Larry Ellison took the stage Sunday night to open his company's massive tech conference in San Francisco.


As expected, he talked about cloud computing and more cloud computing.

Oracle, like all the classic IT vendors, is madly racing after cloud computing because business customers are going gaga for it, ditching their traditional way of buying software and hardware and renting it from companies like Amazon Web Services and Google, instead.

Ellison noted that the cloud computing marketing is actually 15 years old, founded by NetSuite and (both companies he helped found) and it's hitting a growth phase. But it's still pretty young.

"The biggest cloud companies are $6 billion in terms of their cloud business," he pointed out, as opposed to $38 billion to $100 billion, the size of today's biggest tech companies. (For instance, AWS has brought in $5.4 billion in the first three-quarters of 2015, dropping $1.7 billion of profits to the bottom line.)


But revenue size doesn't matter because the cloud is already changing the tech landscape, he says. About 20 percent of Oracle's customers are buying tech via the cloud instead of the traditional way, he said.

That's going to grow exponentially in the years to come.

But when Oracle competes for a cloud contract at a customer, he says he sees Amazon all the time, Microsoft frequently and Google "sometimes."

But not IBM or SAP.

"Our two biggest competitors that we watched most closely over last two decades, IBM and SAP, and we no longer pay any attention to either one of them. It is quite a shock," Ellison says.


"I can make the case that IBM was greatest company in the history of companies, but they are just nowhere in the cloud. SAP is the largest applications company that ever existed. They are nowhere in the cloud," he added.

Both SAP and IBM would argue with Ellison's perception. Both of them claim their cloud businesses are doing well and growing rapidly.

Still, Ellison insists that Oracle is mostly competing with and Workday.

He also applauded his historic competitor Microsoft, for having game in the cloud.

Of its traditional competitors, Microsoft is the "only one" that has "crossed the chasm" and is "now competing aggressively in all three levels of cloud." (Those levels involve renting hardware, renting software applications and renting application programming services.)


Naturally, he also offered a report card in which he showed off how many customers Oracle has gained in the part of the cloud where it is doing best, renting applications (known as Software-as-a-Service or SaaS).

He claims that Oracle is besting Workday, and is a close second to Salesforce in terms of the numbers of customers.

Keep in mind when looking at these numbers that across all of Oracle's massive number of products, it has about 420,000 customers, marketing chief Judith Sims told the audience.

Oracle vs competitors SaaS

Business Insider

Oracle CTO Larry Ellison shows off how many SaaS customers Oracle has

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.