"Salesforce.com is a big company now," Ellison said on the call. "Customers expect us to work together professionally toward the benefit of those customers."
But for whatever good comes of that, other damage has been done, according to analyst Ray Wang , CEO of Constellation Research. "Most customers we have spoken to feel betrayed by Marc," Wang said. "They bought into the Salesforce.com religion of the past. This was a mantra of in your face, no software, no legacy IT and trailblazing the future."
The expansive deal announced this week "took that coolness away," even though Salesforce.com always ran Oracle's database, Wang added.
But one customer of both Salesforce.com and Oracle expressed positivity toward the companies' new relationship.
"It's a super-big win for us," said Dave Hansen, CEO of security vendor SafeNet, which uses Salesforce.com CRM and Oracle for financials. Salesforce.com "is by far the leader" in CRM and is probably never going to move deeply into financials, where Oracle is especially strong, Hansen added.
SafeNet has been working to integrate Salesforce.com with its on-premises Oracle system but "we want to do more," he said.
Therefore, a standard integration between Salesforce.com CRM and Oracle financials "would be a really powerful thing," Hansen added. "That's where I think this [partnership] is going to be really good."
NetSuite By Design?
NetSuite has long used Oracle technology and Ellison remains an investor in the company, but it and Oracle have still remained somewhat at arms-length until this week, when the companies announced a partnershipbased on integrating NetSuite's cloud ERP software with Oracle's cloud HCM application. Deloitte is also involved, planning to work with Oracle and NetSuite on a consulting practice for related SaaS implementations.
NetSuite has sought to position its software as ideal for "two-tier" ERP deployments, where NetSuite is used in a new company subsidiary and tied back into an existing core ERP system, whether from Oracle, SAP or another vendor. SAP has taken a similar approach to marketing its own Business ByDesign cloud ERP software.
Oracle mentioned the two-tier ERP concept only in passing in its announcement this week. But it wouldn't be surprising to see NetSuite and Oracle place more focus on jointly marketing such deals over time.
Larry's new foil
One thing is for sure about Ellison: He likes a good fight. But with the hatchet buried between himself and Benioff, Ellison is without a ready foil for his ample reservoir of competitive jabs, jibes and jokes.
Moving forward, expect Ellison to ramp up the trash talk on rivals such as SAP and IBM.
SAP, for one, seems ready to take off the gloves, and not just against Oracle. "This partnership ends any vestige of Salesforce's claims of independence from [Oracle]," SAP spokesman James Dever said via email. "All the past squabbling about false clouds and keynotes now appears as sincere as a professional wrestling match. The kid was just rebelling against his parents to appear cool."
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