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What to expect at Oracle OpenWorld

Chris Kanaracus | Aug. 13, 2012
With Oracle now in a self-imposed "quiet period" prior to its next quarterly earnings release, it's not likely the company will make any major announcements until its OpenWorld conference, which kicks off at the end of September.

The show would also be a good time for Oracle to make a key announcement for its other hardware products, such as the SPARC-based M-Series and T-Series servers, said Eric Guyer, a consultant who helps clients negotiate deals with the company.

"[Co-President] Mark Hurd has been saying he wants the most profitable channel in the industry, which nobody really believes," Guyer said.

Therefore, it would be good for Oracle to loosen up on its past statement that it would sell directly to its 2,000 largest customers, and let hardware resellers in on more of the action, he added. "I don't think they're going to do that, but I think they need to do that to be successful, if they're going to be in the SPARC business."

Can Oracle clear up its cloud confusion?

Oracle initially announced its Public Cloud service at last year's OpenWorld, and followed that up with a launch event in June. But it's still not clear when all of its offerings, which include a Java PaaS (platform as a service), cloud version of Oracle's database and the full range of Oracle's next-generation Fusion Applications will be generally available.

Nor has Oracle provided public pricing for its cloud products, although it has said that they will use a subscription model, which is common in cloud services.

"I'd like to see them now say not that 'it's done,' but, 'here's the price,'" Guyer said.

Oracle, long used to the steady predictability of on-premise license sales and annual maintenance revenue, may be having a tough time figuring out how to price the applications via subscription for the mass market in a way that preserves its profitability. But it may end up solving the riddle by the time OpenWorld rolls around.

One thing is for sure: "Everything they sell they want to be able to deliver in a cloud delivery model," said Forrester Research vice president Paul Hamerman.

While Oracle will feature some announcements for older products such as PeopleSoft, "most of the keynote-level stuff will be around cloud-based offerings," especially Fusion Applications, he added.

"I think by OpenWorld they're going to be able to tout a decent number of live customers [for Fusion Applications], some brand-name companies," Hamerman said. "Enough so they can leverage that and encourage more customers to go in that direction."


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