The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Larry Ellison is normally the chief trash talker when it comes to the technology industry. Now he’s getting some competition – from his own company.

Mark Hurd, the former HP exec whom Ellison hired to help him run Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), unloaded on rival SAP and also took a shot at IBM during a conference call Tuesday to discuss Oracle’s quartertly results.

SAP, IBM, Red Hat (which neither Oracle exec mentioned even though Ellison is anti-Hatter) and others are all making big plays to deal with so-called “big data” and the lemming-like stampede into cloud computing. (Just for fun, The Skinny has included a number of links to Tech Wire stories back to 2006 about Oracle’s feuding with Red Hat, IBM, and others.)

So when an analyst asked about SAP’s HANA offering, Hurd showed he is capable of throwing mud just like his boss. Oracle has prevailed against SAP in a huge court fight (size of the award still being debated), and SAP recently made a huge move into the cloud with its acquisition of SuccessFactors. So some trash is to be expected.

“We made that decision six years ago. We called it Fusion,” Ellison said of moves toward the cloud.

“SAP called it Confusion.”


Ellison’s confidence is well known. (Here’s a January 2011 headline from InformationWeek: ”Larry Ellison’s 10-Point Plan For World Domination.”)

Later, Hurd took over.

“We hear all the rhetoric and the noise and so I don’t want to make it sound like we’re in denial that there’s stuff out there, people talking,” Hurd said, according to a transcript provided by Seeking Alpha.

“My only problem with it, Jason [Maynard, Wells Fargo Securities], is I just can’t find them.

“I just can’t find them.

“I can’t find buyers.

“I had one report – listen, I mean, you know this. We’ve got a very large field organization. So I asked them, send me all the data on real competitive deals and I’m going to stay up all night reading them. The good thing is I got to bed on time.

“So listen, I’m not trying to tell you – we’re very vigilant. I don’t want to say we dismiss it. But right now for us, products that we’ve got and I meant what I said earlier.

“[Oracle’s] Exalytics is going into a market as we see it with very little competition. We have hundreds of Exalytics sales.”

Oracle recently added 1,000 sales people and is looking to hire another 1,700. Exalytics must be a big reason.

Hurd, in full sales mode, touted Exalytics as proven while SAP’s HANA … well, says Hurd:

“They just brought this thing out of the lab.”

He then basically dismissed SAP and brought up IBM.

“How can – we don’t think it’s a serious threat to us at all. One thing I would say, Jason, so we probably talked about this enough but I would say I do like is the fact that they’re talking about engineered systems and the fact that it’s going to play, I believe, a bigger and bigger role in core computing in IT.

“And IBM too.

“I think you see them coming out saying the same thing. I think what happens when you take a leadership position as we’ve had and I’ve talked about this before, it reminds me of when I was at Teradata years ago, we had an architecture that was different from everybody, one of the best things that happened to us was IBM coming out with an architecture very similar to ours, if you will, validating the approach that we’re bringing to market.

“Very similar here to have these companies, these big companies now come to market say, ‘Yes, we have engineered systems, too.’ I guess, great, it validates the market for what we’ve already brought to market and continue to improve and enhance.”

You can read the entire conference call transcript here.

You won’t be bored. Why?

Ellison talked trash, too.