Enterprise headlines and summaries, 2009-03-25

  • Eclipse Shines a Light on the IDE’s Future
    The projects, set to be unveiled during the foundation’s annual EclipseCon developer conference this week, include the debut of the Swordfish Enterprise Service Bus, or ESB (define), which is intended to enable more modular service-oriented architecture (define) deployment. While Eclipse is well known for its developer tools like its namesake Eclipse IDE, Swordfish signals that it’s aiming to make a name for itself in runtime frameworks as well. Eclipse this week also outlined how it’s looking to the future of development itself with the Eclipse 4.0 (E4) platform, which will incorporate a host of changes designed to free the IDE from the desktop.
  • Oracle Adds Healthcare Muscle With Relsys Acquisition
    Oracle’s days of digesting huge multibillion-dollar acquisitions of suite application providers — Siebel, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and BEA — appear to be over for a while. Instead, the company is focusing on smaller, one-off plays to build up its toolset in particular functional areas — such as business intelligence in the case of the Hyperion acquisition. [DBM-Hyperion is evidence that Oracle is focusing on smaller acquisitions?!?]
  • Service Cloud Looms Over Call Center Software
    “The low end of the market is green field today. There are few packaged applications for call centers with under 200 seats. We have the same opportunity as with SFA,” the company’s flagship on-demand CRM application. For the time being, Salesforce.com has this market to itself, and gained 56% market share in the call center application market in 2008.
  • Salesforce.com Service Turns 10
    Ten years ago March 16, Salesforce.com started its life in a small apartment in San Francisco. The hosted CRM service—which would become a milestone proof point for software as a service—has grown to include the Apex development language, Visualforce, the AppExchange platform and the Force.com “platform as a service.” The following screen shots illustrate the service’s evolution through the last decade.
  • Will economic downturn push companies into the cloud?
    At the TechCrunch Cloud Computing Roundtable in Mountain View, Calif., Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, explains why he thinks Microsoft’s entry into the business will bring validation to the cloud. Many CTOs, he says, still need to be convinced that using software as a service will save them money and move their companies toward the future. Moderator: Steve Gillmor, editor of TechCrunchIT.
  • Outsourcing prices to fall 10 percent
    Gartner expects a price fall in datacenter services of between five and 15 percent. Prices in desktop and helpdesk services will decline by between five and 10 percent, but the fall in network services prices will be bigger, at between 10 and 15 percent. Charges for application hosting services, until now one of the fastest-growing areas, will drop between 10 and 20 percent, the analyst firm said.
  • Eclipse Announces Initial Release of Swordfish Enterprise Service Bus
    The Eclipse Foundation is expected to announce on March 23 the first release of Swordfish, a next-generation enterprise service bus (ESB) that provides the flexibility and extensibility required by enterprises to successfully deploy a service-oriented architecture (SOA) strategy. Swordfish is based on the Open Services Gateway initiative (OSGi).
  • Sybase Extends Analytics Leadership in High Speed Streaming Data
    Sybase, Inc. (NYSE: SY), an industry leader in delivering enterprise and mobile software, today announced Sybase® CEP, a complex event processing (CEP) technology for performing analytics on high speed streaming data. By integrating Sybase CEP with RAP – The Trading Edition™, Sybase provides a complete platform for trade lifecycle analytics and furthers its leadership in analytics. Sybase CEP extends the Sybase RAP platform’s capability to store and analyze vast amounts of real-time and historical data, by providing real-time intelligence on high speed streaming market and trade data with minimum latency.
  • Sybase Looks Fully Valued
    By Cowen & Co. ($31.17, March 24, 2009) WE ARE INITIATING COVERAGE on Sybase (ticker: SY) with a Neutral rating. While we are impressed by the company’s recent performance in both its legacy and growth businesses, we are concerned that the stock is fully valued at current levels given that consensus earnings-per-share estimates of $2.20 (down 2%) on sales of $1.15 billion (up 2%) represent what we believe to be best-case-scenario growth assumptions.
  • Oracle: Spending Money to Make It
    Oracle built up its presence in the pharmaceutical industry by acquiring Irvine, Calif. company Relsys International for an undisclosed sum. Relsys sells software that helps pharmaceutical and biotech companies comply with drug safety regulations during clinical trials, and it adds to the lineup of products in Oracle’s “health sciences” business unit, created last year. “It’s a smart tuck-in acquisition,” says Stuart Williams, an analyst at consulting company Technology Business Research. “You can’t make the next generation of blockbuster drugs without having all the data pulled together for testing and analysis.” More broadly, pushing deeper into specialized software markets in industries including health care, insurance, and telecom furnishes Oracle with new customers for its broader database and applications software. The company, which is locked in a battle for market share in business software with German maker SAP, has been on an acquisition spree since 2005, snapping nearly 50
  • Satyam defers joining dates of 9,000 freshers
    Citing global economic slowdown as one of the reasons, Satyam Computer has deferred the joining dates of 9,000 freshers to whom the company had issued offer letters. “The joining dates of around 9,000 students of the 2007-2008 batch, who were given the offer letters during December 2007 to June 2008, have been deferred,” a company spokesperson said. Satyam HR head Mr S V Krishnan said in an eMail to all the freshers has said this decision was made after careful and extensive deliberations and only after all other practical options were exhausted.
  • Satyam founder to undergo lie-detection tests
    The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought permission from a local court to run lie-detection tests on B.Ramalinga Raju, founder of fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services Ltd. The CBI, which is investigating India’s biggest corporate swindle, wants to conduct polygraph and brain-mapping tests on Raju, his brother and former Satyam managing director B.Rama Raju and former chief financial officer Srinivas Vadlamani. All three are currently in custody. Polygraph is also known as a lie detector and brain mapping is a neuroscience technique. Both seek to detect whether a person being interrogated is lying. Results of such tests, however, are not admissible as evidence in a court of law but may provide clues to investigators.
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Enterprise headlines and summaries, 2009-03-24

  • How to avoid SaaS integration gotchas
    Informatica has a foot in both worlds: It offers both on-premise and IAS. Ron Papas, senior vice president and general manager of Infomatica’s On Demand group, says the key advantage to using hosted integration tools is that they facilitate rapid development. That’s important because, while on-premise software tends to go through upgrades every 12 to 18 months, SaaS vendors may revise their software three or more times each year. IAS vendors help to ensure that customizations done for customers continue to work.
  • Sybase Launches Enterprise-Ready iPhone Solution on the App Store
    Sybase (NYSE:SY), an industry leader in delivering enterprise and mobile software, today announced a new version of iAnywhere® Mobile Office with expanded iPhone support and availability on the iPhone App Store. Sybase’s unique approach for enhanced security and usability make it the first recognized leader in the middleware space to encrypt all data contained within an email and PIM application on an iPhone without compromising user’s personal information. The latest version is intended to strengthen iPhone adoption within enterprises by providing Lotus Domino and Microsoft Exchange email and PIM data to iPhone users.
  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Talks Cloud Computing, Twitter
    Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff discussed his company’s use of the cloud computing and Software-As-a-Service (SaaS) at a New York conference, demonstrating the new features of its Sales Cloud. Google, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM have also been pushing hard into the cloud-computing space as part of their grand strategies. Saleforce also has a new agreement with Twitter.
  • How Do You Spell IPO Now? TECH
    After a decade of being either the first or second-largest source of initial public offerings, technology companies tied at third last year with health-care offerings, according to data from Renaissance Capital’s IPOhome.com Web site. This year, they are the only companies registering prospectuses — there are only three registrations total — with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Intel freezes top salaries, reprices options
    Don’t feel too badly for them, though. Total compensation for these five in 2008 came to $12.7m (£8.7m) for Otellini, $2.5m (£1.7m) for Smith, $5.5m (£3.8m) for Bryant, $5.3m (£3.6m) for Maloney, and $4.7m (£3.2m) for Perlmutter – although the latter, as noted in the proxy, is paid in Israeli sheckles, so he has those pesky currency-conversion rates to deal with. The news was somewhat better for the rank-and-file, however. The board of directors is requesting that the stockholders approve an employee stock-option exchange program called, somewhat prosaically, Option Exchange. Under the Option Exchange plan, employees other than the five listed officers will be given the opportunity to exchange their current over-priced stock options (defined as those “with an exercise price above our 52-week high”) for a new options that have “approximately the same fair value” as the options they’ll now be allowed to dump.
  • Salesforce.com touts doubtful Twitter tool
    So, the likely scenario will be for the nasty tweets to be grabbed, filtered and fed into the company’s already over-burdened help desk system, which will push the tweeters to online FAQs, e-mail response systems and voicemail hell. The likely result will be more negative tweets about how unresponsive and uncool the experience with the company was, feeding the flamers with fuel instead of putting out the fire. Unless there’s an integrated, intelligent automated response system designed specifically for Twitter, this initial move into Customer Tweet Management is likely to be as effective as Sylvester was at catching Tweety Bird.
  • Salesforce.com Sees Its Next $1 Billion Market
    According to Dayon, Salesforce.com’s customers are looking to refashion their approaches to customer service because they realize that current call center operations leave a lot to be desired, and that 50% of customer-service related questions have migrated to Google and other community sites. “Soon, two-thirds of those interactions are going to be in the cloud,” Dayon said.
  • Red Hat shares jump on Oracle deal rumors
    But a deal now doesn’t make sense, she writes, because of another possible business combination being talked about: IBM’s potential purchase of Sun Microsystems. Both of those companies are major producers of servers that run Red Hat software. Thus, an IBM-Sun deal could change the landscape of the server industry and affect Red Hat’s business.
  • More office space, lower leases, in Silicon Valley
    An ugly economy has affected more than Silicon Valley’s residential real estate market; it’s pummeling the commercial real estate market as well. About 8.7 million square feet of Silicon Valley office space was vacant in the fourth quarter of 2008, or 14.7 percent of the total, according to Cornish & Carey Commercial/Oncor International. That’s up from an office vacancy rate of 13.7 percent at the end of the third quarter, and up from 11.9 percent in the final quarter of 2007. As unappealing as the trend may be for landlords, the office vacancy situation is nowhere near as bad as it was following the dot-com bust, said Phil Mahoney, executive vice president of Cornish & Carey, one of the valley’s largest commercial real estate brokerages.
  • Salesforce.com cloud adds Twitter, stirs privacy concerns
    With today’s launch of the Twitter plug-in, Salesforce.com is now stirring further privacy concerns among some observers, who suggest that customer service workers and/or their employers might abuse the new tool by inappropriately infiltrating user conversations.
  • What a Sun-IBM merger could mean for Java
    Several pundits have speculated that if IBM controlled Java, the language and platform would be even more open source than it is, and that problems such as product conformance tests for OSS versions of Java would go away. This is probably correct. However, the one thing that will not happen is IBM ceding control of Java to a third party. In other words, while the JCP might be dismantled (though I doubt it), some system will remain in place by which IBM can pursue its agenda in Java.
  • Google Apps missing enterprise social-networking revolution
    In fact, some collaboration vendors are already on their second iteration of their enterprise social-networking technologies, giving them microblogging capabilities popularized among consumers by Twitter. With so much activity in this space, Google seems to be trailing and slow on the uptake, as Apps remains a suite centered on e-mail communications and document sharing, devoid of social-networking capabilities. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by Apps administrators. “In our domain, we’d definitely find that it’d be beneficial to have some type of interface into social networking,” said Douglas Menefee, The Schumacher Group’s chief information officer.

Enterprise headlines and summaries, 2009-03-23

  • Is Oracle Forking Red Hat Linux?
    Oracle has said the approach means it can work on enhancing Linux without creating its own version of the OS. The only issue, though, is that not everything that Oracle gets into the mainline Linux kernel is actually used by all the distribution vendors, including Red Hat. OCFS One example of how Oracle’s supported version of Linux differs from Red Hat has to do with the Oracle Cluster File System (OCFS), which has been part of the mainline Linux kernel since the Linux 2.6.16 release in 2006. Though it’s part of the mainline Linux kernel, it is not included in Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux, where it would compete against Red Hat’s own Global File System (GFS).
  • Oracle Releases Multiple Enterprise Linux Security Advisories
    Late yesterday, Oracle Corporation (NasdaqGS: ORCL) announced the release of multiple security updates for it’s Enterprise Linux [OEL] distribution [a variant of the Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) Enterprise Linux distribution]. The full text of each update, including links, MITRE CVE data, et cetera, appears after the jump.
  • Friday Rant: SAP — Pull the Trigger on Ariba
    But now more than ever, an SAP / Ariba deal makes a lot of sense from a solution perspective (I won’t get into the financial component of such a transaction in this post). I know SAP is notoriously slow on the deal trigger relative to its US-based competitor, but if they had to make an acquisition happen, I’m sure they could push it through the corporate Bundestag just as fast as Nancy Pelosi can fly halfway around the world — or to visit her constituents — on a taxpayer-funded G5 (don’t get me started or diverted on that subject). But seriously, there are a number of reasons that I believe are gelling together for SAP to finally get serious and do something regarding Ariba. Consider both SAP’s recent past behavior as well as their current challenges as I shape this argument.
  • Oracle Fusion completion date slips
    Vinnie points out that in 2005, Oracle had slotted Fusion to be delivered in 2008. So, there has now been an unacknowledged two year slip in delivery of Fusion. I also recall a post I wrote in January 2006, noting Oracle President Charles Phillips’ claim that Oracle was already “half-way to Fusion.” So, in one year (Jan. 2005 to Jan 2006) Oracle completed 50% of the work. Assuming now that the 2010 reschedule date is good, it now means that it have taken another four years to complete the second 50%. To me it sounds like the old project management joke about the project that is 90% complete for 90% of the time.
  • Oracle Fusion in 2010 – finally?
    In the Oracle earnings call yesterday Larry Ellison said ““…next year we are going to be delivering the next generation Fusion applications, which we have been investing very heavily in over the years…”
  • Ellison’s estimated share of Oracle’s new quarterly dividend: $57.5 million
    As recently as August, Oracle said its policy was to “reinvest earnings to fund future growth”, and that it did not anticipate paying a cash dividend “in the foreseeable future.” When Oracle released its third quarter results Wednesday, President Safra Catz said the company “generated $8 billion in free cash flow over the last twelve months and we are running our business at record operating margins,” adding that “this is the right time to declare a dividend for our stockholders.”
  • A Software Insider’s Point of View » Event Report: Reflections On Microsoft’s Convergence 2009
    Over 7000 customers, partners, Microsoft staff, and paparazzi made the pilgrimage to New Orleans to hear the latest and greatest from the Microsoft Dynamics team. The great band, surface computing demo, and festivities in New Orleans wiped out most of the gloom and doom of the economic recession and negativity towards continued reckless US government spending. Attendees were upbeat, optimistic, and energetic. One explanation for this sense of “can-do” attitude among attendees can be based on how Microsoft has successfully transformed itself into a value and innovation alternative to the large ERP vendors moving into the small-medium enterprise/business (SME/SMB) space.* Customers such as National Air Cargo state a 25% increase in employee productivity, GFK talks about is 50% less time spent on financial reporting, and Champion posts 60% faster order processing times using Microsoft Dynamics products. Conversations with Rick Harkins and Robert Dills of the Cleveland Red Cross highl
  • Salesforce.com Preaches Computing Power for Rent
    Mr. Benioff welcomes such competition, saying that such rivalries only raise the credibility of the business model. “Every time someone buys a server, a switch or a data center, I have failed,” he said.
  • Top 10 IT locations
    1. Silicon Valley Shaun Nichols: The unquestioned capital of the IT world, the stretch of land encompassing San Jose and San Mateo county has become home to so many companies that it is now simply referred to as “Silicon Valley.” This list of companies headquartered in the Valley is absurd, but let’s go ahead and rattle off a few: HP, Sun, Oracle, Apple, Cisco, Google, Yahoo, Intel, McAfee, Symantec, AMD, eBay. The list just goes on and on. The history of Silicon Valley reads much like the history of computing itself. From the garage where Hewlett and Packard first joined up, to the house where two guys named Steve started building computer kits named after a piece of fruit, to the fabled labs at Xerox PARC and even the dormitories at Stanford University that housed the likes of Jerry Yang and Sergey Brin, the area is crawling with high-tech historical landmarks. The reasons put forward for the rise of Silicon Valley are numerous. Some point to the proximity of Stanford and UC Berk
  • Satyam’s falling revenue is a concern: Murthy
    Potential bidders for acquiring a majority stake in Satyam Computer Services, including iGATE and other MNC firms such as IBM and HP, have chosen to stay away from the bidding war on concerns of Satyam’s falling revenues, dwindling margins, customer attrition and several legal liabilities in the US and India.
  • Attrition rate not ‘alarming’ in Satyam despite problems: Karnik
    Officials said the agency has retrieved at least 7,000 fake invoices and forged documents showing fixed deposits and bank balances, and their evaluation shows that the size of the fraud is at least Rs9,600 crore. They said that during the investigation, CBI found that the accused relied heavily on technology to generate nearly 7,000 fake invoices to the tune of Rs4,500 crore and fed the same into Satyam’s books. They said these inflated figures also reflected on the balance sheet in the form of audit reports which helped the company to cheat the public purchasing its shares. The buck did not stop here as the accused also have given false and fabricated statements, found by CBI, about high capital of the company. The accused forged documents and created fake fixed deposit receipts to the tune of Rs3,300 crore, officials said. The fixed deposit receipts were shown by the accused as available deposits by the company, they said, adding that the accused had also allegedly manipulated the ba

Enterprise headlines and summaries, 2009-03-22

  • IT Employment Decline Moderates in February; Outperforms General Employment Market
    After dropping markedly in December (56,000 jobs or 1.4%) and January (46,000 jobs or 1.15%), the decline in IT employment moderated in February dropping by (17,000 jobs or .43%), according to the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses (NACCB), which tracks monthly IT employment.
  • Oracle Corporation F3Q09 (Qtr End 02/28/09) Earnings Call Transcript
    Safra A. Catz Clearly we are extremely pleased with our spectacular Q3 results. We hit the midpoint of our new license guidance, we beat the high end of our total revenue guidance, we beat the high end of our EPS guidance by a full $0.02, and we delivered the highest Q3 operating margins in our history, substantially higher operating margins than our peers. And we grew faster than SAP in every region around the world, clearly taking market share. Our software license updates and product support revenues, which hit $3.0 billion this quarter, are growing nicely off a very large base, and our customer renewal rates and satisfaction levels continue at record highs. This quarter clearly demonstrates the strength of our diversified portfolio products, the breadth of our enormous customer base, and the strength of our operating model. Once again, the only negative story for the quarter was currency, as it was in Q2 and as it will be again in Q4.

Enterprise headlines and summaries, 2009-03-21

  • Microsoft Ships Internet Explorer 8 Browser
    Microsoft will release its Internet Explorer 8 browser for download on March 19. Security, ease of use, and improvements in RSS, Cascading Style Sheets and AJAX support are key priorities for Internet Explorer 8, according to Microsoft.
  • Will iPhone OS 3 Bring Apple, Enterprise Closer Together?
    The Apple iPhone OS 3.0 will offer 100 new features, some of which will hopefully make the iPhone more enterprise-friendly. Sybase, SAP and Sun Microsystems all recognize the potential value of the iPhone to the enterprise, and Sybase and SAP recently announced a partnership that extends SAP’s Business Suite 7 to the iPhone, as well as to other, more expected, mobile devices. … eWEEK Labs Senior Analyst Andrew Garcia reported that, for those who look closely, there are small acknowledgements of the enterprise. OS 3.0 includes VPN on Demand; Certificate Revocation; and Media Scrubbing. Though little will be known about these features until 3.0 is released.
  • eWEEK Labs Examines IBM, Sun Product Synergies, Overlap
    Enterprise IT managers need to be thinking about the product impact of a possible IBM acquisition of Sun. eWEEK Labs takes a look at the areas of synergy–such as database and operating systems–as well as areas of overlap–such as development. In the end, IBM’s services model may be the crux of all product decisions.
  • IBM Can Probably Sell Sun Better than Sun Can
    Insiders virtually all agree: An IBM-Sun Microsystems merger might be very good for both companies and their investors. One of the key elements to this possibility is that IBM will have to market and sell Sun’s IT infrastructure wares better than Sun can, and most eWEEK sources believe IBM could actually do that.
  • SAP, Oracle Scrambling For GRC Dollars
    SAP and Oracle both announced new components for their growing governance, risk and compliance (GRC) technology suit in the past 10 days. GRC applications are typically sold to public and large privately held companies, especially those operating in heavily-regulated industries, and are intended to perform a variety of critical functions including electronic document search and retrieval, ensuring compliance with audit and other financial and industry-specific regulations.
  • SAS starts building for the cloud
    SAS, the world’s largest vendor of business-intelligence software, is planning to spend $70m (£50m) on a cloud-computing facility to expand its on-demand applications. Operations will be based at its Cary, North Carolina headquarters, the company said on Thursday. SAS is privately held and competes with companies such as IBM, SAP and Oracle. In a statement, SAS’s founder and chief executive Jim Goodnight detailed the company’s plans for a 38,000-square-foot cloud-computing facility. The cloud centre will have two 10,000-square-foot server farms, with the first one to be completed in 2010 and a second to be built when the first reaches 80 percent capacity, the company said.
  • Informatica Shaping Up As Likely Acquisition Target
    Ivan Chong, general manager of Informatica’s data quality business unit, explained that different financial services companies can have up to seven different definitions for “price;” it can mean a stock’s settlement price for one and the closing price for another. … These kinds of problems can be compounded when newly-merged businesses struggle with reconciling data residing in incompatible data warehouses and applications. … This kind of technology can be very attractive to technology platform vendors, especially when they’re already likely to have an existing presence in either the acquiring company or the target. It should be no surprise, then, that SAP and Oracle have acquired or built their own data management capabilities in the past several years. And IBM spent approximately $10 billion between 2005 and 2008 in data management-related acquisitions.
  • Microsoft’s Ballmer slams IBM’s potential purchase of Sun Microsystems
    Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer doesn’t seem to care. Ballmer, who dismisses any new competition, indicated that “Someone must think [an IBM-Sun deal] is a good idea for the rumor to even exist, I don’t exactly get it.” Well, Steve, if the rumor does end up to be true, Microsoft will see a renewed competitor in the server space. You know, the one where Microsoft recruits billions of dollars per quarter through server software sales? Ballmer also seemed to think Sun’s intellectual baggage was too much saying, “You pick up a lot of stuff when you buy Sun … a deal gives IBM a year or two where all they’re doing is digesting it. I relish that year.” That year may be soon, and if IBM and Sun Microsystems do combine, that year could even be 2009. [DBM-I’m warming to this acquisition-the more I think about it, the more I think it makes sense for IBM…]
  • In Consolidating IT Industry, All Bets Are Off
    Polite vendor execs used to call it “coopetition”–the state of tech industry affairs whereby the fiercest of rivals could be the chummiest of partners depending on the circumstances and the market they’re chasing. A more up-to-date and colloquial description of this industry dynamic might be: All bets are off. Some recent evidence:
  • Oracle launches intiative to help partners build new business
    Oracle aims to help partners build their businesses with a new initiative that provides sales training and verification of skills. The Oracle Sales Readiness Verification initiative is aimed at helping partners with proven expertise in Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Database and Oracle Grid, providing them with sales training and designed to enable them to go to market with the products. The intention is to drive net new licence and services business for partners, the company stated.
  • Tech Companies Need a Cash Plan
    That is why more should consider a dividend. Oracle Corp., having led the way on acquisitions, declared its first dividend Wednesday. If Oracle can declare a dividend, Apple and Google should follow.
  • Oracle CEO Larry Ellison will reap $230 million a year from company’s dividend
    Assuming the dividend and Ellison’s holdings — currently 1.15 billion shares, the company reported — remain the same, Ellison stands to reap $230 million from the 5-cent-per-share dividend in the next 12 months. That’s in addition to his salary and other perks, which came to nearly $85 million in 2008, according to company filings. Asked to respond to several questions regarding the dividend payout to Ellison, a company spokesperson said: “Oracle shareholders are thrilled and have had an overwhelmingly positive response to our dividend offering.”

Enterprise headlines and summaries, 2009-03-20

  • IBM and Sun: Is it about the hardware or the software?
    A larger issue is the impact this will have on the $67B enterprise application software market. While many smaller enterprise software vendors might cheer IBM taking ownership of Java, Oracle and SAP may see this as a strategic threat to their middleware and applications businesses. Java became the dominant language for new enterprise applications thanks in part to Sun’s quasi-open source method of controlling Java’s direction, called the Java Community Process. No doubt, IBM would be careful to preserve the appearance of Java as a vendor-neutral standard, but SAP and Oracle may not be willing to tie the future of their billion-dollar applications businesses to a language owned by IBM. Sun wasn’t much of a threat to Oracle or SAP, but IBM is a different matter. SAP and Oracle could attempt to block IBM’s acquisition on anti-trust grounds, or splinter the Java standard by building their own versions.
  • Oracle delivers solid third quarter; Strong dollar dings fourth quarter outlook
    # Research and development spending in the third quarter was $677 million, down 1 percent from a year ago. # General and administrative expenses were $192 million, down from $206 million a year ago. # Operating margins were 36 percent in the quarter, up a percentage point. # Oracle ended the quarter with $8.2 billion in cash and $3 billion in marketable securities. # The company ended the quarter with 86,588 employees, down slightly from the prior quarter. # Database revenue is saving the day for Oracle. In the third quarter, new software licenses for database and middleware revenue was $1.12 billion, or down 4 percent from a year ago. Support and license update revenue was up 16 percent to $1.91 billion. # Applications revenue for the third quarter took a hit as new software licenses were $396 million, down from $451 million a year ago.
  • From the Oracle’s Mouth: Its First Div
    Against the grain of company after company slashing dividends, Oracle announced its first payout ever. The software giant will pay a 5-cent quarterly, for an annual rate of 20 cents, declaring that the dividend policy now will add a new dimension to the way it rewards investors – limited in the past to stock repurchases, acquisitions, and technological improvements. The nickel-a-share will be paid May 8 to stock of record April 8.
  • SQL Worm Slams Web
    An Internet worm exploiting vulnerabilities in certain versions of Microsoft SQL Server and MSDE began hammering UDP port 1434 before midnight on Friday, January 24th, 2003. Dubbed Sapphire by some antivirus vendors and Slammer by others, the worm resulted in massive packet loss throughout the web causing severe latency and, in some cases, made certain sites completely inaccessible depending on the ISP being used. Because the worm affected unpatched versions of Microsoft SQL server and desktops with MSDE installed, download servers from Microsoft were temporarily overcome by traffic as administrators flocked to the site to obtain the necessary patches.
  • Oracle powering towards Fusion
    Expect to see significant amounts of Oracle marketing and development focus during 2009. With product launches, customer testimonials from early adopter programmes, and a host of other Fusion-related noise. However, care should be taken when setting revenue expectations from these new Fusion products, especially the Fusion applications. New business applications take time to gain market adoption and we don’t anticipate the real revenue acceleration to come until 2011 or later. Early success can and will be found by Oracle, but customers will move at their own pace, as is right.
  • Why Oracle Dividends Are Good for Tech
    It’s definitely news when a company run by an outsized ego like Larry Ellison elects to start offering shareholders dividends. Oracle (ORCL), Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) and Cisco (CSCO) are a few of the companies floating around with the most cash, according to this recent SA article. But Oracle is only the second of the pack to offer dividends (Microsoft was the first). Let’s hope that this will lead to more technology companies issuing dividends in the future, something that would be good not only for investors but for the companies themselves.
  • Coke contract and employees move from Satyam to HP
    Apart from bagging the ERP contract from Coca-Cola, HP has also issued offer letters to Satyam employees who were working with the client. Some of these employees will be joining HP next month. It is believed that Satyam had at least 100 employees working on the Coca-Cola project in its Chennai offshore development centre. Most of them were experts in the area of SAP consulting and implementation.
  • Satyam Freshers Union wants parties to air job concerns
    Under the banner of Satyam Freshers Union, these students want political parties to air concerns over job losses in their manifestos. “We want political parties to incorporate our concerns in their manifestos. We will approach all parties including the Congress, Telugu Desam, Prajarajyam, Telangana Rashtria Samithi and the Communist Party of India help us get jobs that we were offered a Satyam,” said Satyam Freshers Union convenor Varun Podaralla.
  • IBM-Sun deal: Microsoft is in the cross-hairs
    IBM’s impending deal to buy Sun is aimed squarely at one of Microsoft’s biggest vulnerabilities: In the server market and among developers, where Linux has a big presence, and is about to get much bigger. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says the deal could help Microsoft, but the truth is, he’s just blowing smoke.
  • Oracle’s Stimulus Package
    One way to read Oracle’s (ORCL) novel announcement on Wednesday that it will start paying a dividend is that after years of handing out money to shareholders of other companies in the form of acquisitions, it will dole out some to its own investors. Word that the software giant will pay a dividend for the first time comes after a quarter in which Oracle acquired just one company, mValent. It was the lowest quarterly total for the company in recent memory, and compares with the shopping spree in the same quarter last year that saw it take home BEA Systems for $8.5bn, among other deals.
  • NetSuite adds cloud product range for coders
    SuiteCloud includes SuiteCloud Developer Network (SDN), a developer program for independent software vendors (ISVs), and SuiteApp.com, an online marketplace where ISVs, customers and other users can look for applications that may suit their business requirements.
  • NetSuite rounds out SuiteCloud Ecosystem
    On-demand enterprise applications provider NetSuite today officially launched its SuiteCloud Ecosystem, designed to encourage customers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to maximise NetSuite investments, and make the firm the preeminent platform-as-a-service provider. SuiteCloud is a bundle of tools and services which helps businesses to customise and extend their NetSuite implementations with ease, according to the vendor, and allows ISVs to build applications that meet specific business needs on top of a common business suite platform. The latest additions are SuiteCloud Developer Network, a developer programme for ISVs, and SuiteApp.com, an online marketplace where ISVs and customers can find the applications they need.
  • NetSuite launches application store
    “SuiteCloud’s NS-BOS has a built-in integration advantage over competitors,” he said. “NetSuite provides a [SaaS] application foundation that pure platform providers lack and, most importantly, a pool of thousands of customers already committed to it.”
  • Microsoft preps massive cloud expansion
    “As we move forward in the next couple of months, we will begin running Windows Azure in multiple data centers,” Microsoft’s James Conrad told Mix attendees. “You will have the ability to run ASP.NET and storage in specific data centers…North American data centers are the start, [and] as we move forward with Azure will make it available in other data centers around the world.” The expansion is in addition to the inclusion of business application features from SQL Server plus support for non-Microsoft and .NET programming languages such as PHP on Azure.
  • Microsoft opens Azure to PHP developers
    Specific improvements made this week include expanding beyond managed code to native code support; enablement of full trust, which is how most applications or services are written; and offering FastCGI support to allow PHP development. “Basically, the Windows Server team has done a ton of work with FastCGI that allows Windows Server to now support programming languages beyond just .Net and Visual Studio,” Ketkar said. Through the FastCGI interface, developers can take existing PHP skills and PHP applications and services and run them on Azure. Developers might also be able to run other languages via FastCGI, said Ketkar. Microsoft, though, has done stress-testing for PHP but not for other languages. “There is no reason that Ruby won’t work through that same FastCGI interface,” he said. Are you ready for event-driven business? – watch this webcast. Microsoft’s vision is to open up the platform to more languages, Ketkar said. Microsoft wants Azure to offer a “frictionless” developmen

Enterprise headlines and summaries, 2009-03-19

  • Sun Micro takes on Amazon in cloud computing
    The Sun Cloud services, which mirror ones that Amazon has offered for three years, will initially be targeted at students, computer programmers and start-ups that cannot afford to buy their own servers and storage equipment.
  • SAP Goes Head-to-Head with Oracle over Supply-Chain Solutions
    SAP announced the newest version of its SAP BusinessObjects Global Trade Services Application, integrated along with the SAP BusinessObjects Risk Management application, designed to automate regulatory compliance across the supply chain. This is the latest in new products that SAP has rolled out in 2009 and comes weeks after Oracle announced its own SAAS application for streamlining supply-chain management.
  • As Goes Oracle, Technology Follows
    Oracle (ORCL) reports earnings this week, among the most anticipated earnings events in the tech sector. And that’s not just because Larry Ellison watching is so much fun. Rather, it’s because the database and enterprise software giant is the rarest of birds, a tech bellwether that has remained relatively unscathed by the economic fallout from the Great Recession that has hammered makers of cell phones, PCs, telecom equipment and LCD TVs. Thus far, Oracle has managed to avoid major retrenchments in sales and has continued to boost profitability. Will Larry’s streak continue? It’s a critical question not just for Oracle but also for the rest of the sector.
  • IBM buying Sun Microsystems makes no sense, it’s a red herring
    So, does IBM need chip architectures from Sun? Nope, has their own. Access to markets from Sun’s long-underperforming sales force? Nope. Unix? IBM has one. Linux? IBM was there first. Engineering skills? Nope. Storage technology? Nope. Head-start on cloud implementations? Nope. Java license access or synergy? Nope, too late. Sun’s deep and wide professional services presence worldwide? Nope. Ha! Let’s see … hardware, software, technology, sales, cloud, labor, market reach … none makes sense for IBM to buy Sun — at any price. IBM does just fine by continuing to watch the sun set on Sun. Same for Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, HP.
  • Serena Makes Good on Promise: Dumps Microsoft Exchange for Google Gmail
    Why did Serena get rid of Microsoft Exchange? Two reasons, Bonvanie said. “The first is purely economic—we believe we can save the company $1 million in three years.” Serena’s second reason for the migration has to do with the company’s focus on moving its customers to the cloud. “We want to put our company into the cloud as well,” Bonvanie said. “And we want to put all of our applications into the cloud. Mail is just one. … You know how much we’ve been on the SAAS [software-as-a-service] train. The Google experience is an example of putting the end user in the driver’s seat because there are very few examples of applications that are as personal or affect people as much as e-mail.”
  • UPDATE: Oracle Expected To Post Modest Gains For Trying Period
    While Wall Street is generally confident that Oracle can rely on a steady stream of software maintenance revenue from existing customers, the company’s ability to sell new software licenses amid the downturn has been questioned.
  • If IBM and Sun merge, watch out Oracle and SAP
    Michael Cote, an analyst at RedMonk, pointed out that IBM controlling Java “could be something people who depend on Java will freak out about.” AMR’s Finely added, “If IBM enforces control over the Java Community Process the way Microsoft controls .Net, and WebSphere becomes perceived as better middleware because of it, then IBM gets an inherent advantage. Plus, it could de-stabilize the foundations of Oracle and SAP’s products because Oracle’s Fusion and SAP’s NetWeaver are both tightly wedded to Java.”
  • Free Software Suits Self-Employed Workers
    Zoho offers 19 online business tools including Zoho Mail and Zoho Writer, which shouldn’t be confused with Zoho Docs, which manages documents. There’s software for managing projects, tracking sales, Web conferencing and more. With this level of ambition, it’s not surprising that the products are thin. I haven’t felt compelled to switch to Zoho products even though they compete with everything from Excel to NetSuite(N Quote – Cramer on N – Stock Picks).