Why did you resist the name “cloud computing”?

The question of course could be directed to none other than Larry Ellison.   While Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff took the term and made it a cornerstone of their CRM marketing, Ellison and Oracle took umbrage at trying to re-invent an operating model he believed had been around for a while.

At the recent D10 conference, Kara Swisher interviewed him about this famous brush-off of the term cloud computing.

“I objected to people saying, “Oh my God, we just invented cloud computing,” said Ellison.

He also said that while he resisted the term, he did agree consumers and the general public needed a simpler way to understand and use computing resources.    He thought the term was overly hyped and very promising at the same time.

“People said the PC would replace the mainframe. But IBM still does mainframes. PCs are more important than mainframes. I would argue that smartphones are more important than PCs. For the first time, the consumer end of IT is bigger than the enterprise side. Consumer information processing is the biggest part of our business.”

He resisted falling into the trap of labeling Oracle as a consumer company.  Instead, he said, Oracle sells to consumer companies like Apple stating that “we are by far the most popular provider of automation systems all over the world.”

IBM is currently their biggest competitor, but according to Ellison, Oracle is growing much faster than Big Blue.

“IBM used to be No. 1 in database; now we’re No. 1. They used to be No. 1 in middleware, and we’re now No. 1 in middleware. They’re No. 1 in high-end servers; soon we’re going to be No. 1 in high-end servers.”

He also mentioned specifically some of his cloud competitors inside the enterprise software arena.

“Long before we bought Sun, we decided to build this database machine. We thought data centers were unnecessarily complex. People were buying storage from EMC, and networks from Cisco, and all these other separate parts together. I said let’s do all of it. We’ll sell one building block you can plug into your data center. We’re trying to do for the data center what Apple did for the consumer.”

And, Ellison said they are now announcing the general availability of the Oracle Cloud which falls under Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

“A complex ERP and HR suite in the cloud. All running on Oracle hardware, and running in their own virtual machine.  When you’re a multi-tenant customer, you get the new upgrade when the vendor tells you. When you run your own VM, you have more control. (Take that, Benioff!),” he said.

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