Oracle Corporation

Oracle Corporation
Traded as
Industry Enterprise software
Cloud Computing
Founded June 16, 1977 (1977-06-16)
Santa Clara, California, U.S.[1]
Founder Larry Ellison
Bob Miner
Ed Oates
Normand Beauchamp
Headquarters Redwood Shores, Redwood City, California, United States
Area served
Key people
Larry Ellison
(Executive Chairman & CTO)
Jeff Henley
(Vice Chairman)
Safra Catz
Mark Hurd
Products Oracle Applications, Oracle Database, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Fusion Middleware, servers, workstations, storage
(See Oracle products)
Revenue Decrease US$37.04 billion (2016)[2]
Decrease US$12.60 billion (2016)[2]
Decrease US$8.90 billion (2016)[2]
Total assets Increase US$112.18 billion (2016)[2]
Total equity Decrease US$47.28 billion (2016)[2]
Number of employees
136,262 (Q4 FY2016)[3]
Subsidiaries List of Oracle subsidiaries
Larry Ellison, executive chairman of Oracle

Oracle Corporation is an American multinational computer technology corporation, headquartered in Redwood Shores, California. The company primarily specializes in developing and marketing database software and technology, cloud engineered systems and enterprise software products—particularly its own brands of database management systems. In 2015 Oracle was the second-largest software maker by revenue, after Microsoft.[4]

The company also develops and builds tools for database development and systems of middle-tier software, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, customer relationship management (CRM) software and supply chain management (SCM) software.


Larry Ellison co-founded Oracle Corporation in 1977 with Bob Miner and Ed Oates Normand Beauchamp under the name Software Development Laboratories (SDL). Ellison took inspiration[5] from the 1970 paper written by Edgar F. Codd on relational database management systems (RDBMS) named "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks."[6] He heard about the IBM System R database from an article in the IBM Research Journal provided by Oates. Also derived from Codd's theories, Ellison wanted to make Oracle's product compatible with System R, but failed to do so as IBM kept the error codes for their DBMS a secret. SDL changed its name to Relational Software, Inc (RSI) in 1979,[7] then again to Oracle Systems Corporation in 1982,[8] to align itself more closely with its flagship product Oracle Database. At this stage Bob Miner served as the company's senior programmer. In 1995, Oracle Systems Corporation changed its name to Oracle Corporation,[9] officially named Oracle, but sometimes referred to as Oracle Corporation, the name of the holding company.[10] Part of Oracle Corporation's early success arose from using the C programming language to implement its products. This eased porting to different operating systems (most of which support C).

Technology timeline

Products and services

Oracle designs, manufactures, and sells both software and hardware products, as well as offers services complementing them (such as financing, training, consulting, and hosting services). Many of the products have been added to Oracle's portfolio through acquisitions.


Oracle's E-delivery service (Oracle Software Delivery Cloud) provides generic downloadable Oracle software and documentation.[11]


Main article: Oracle Database

Oracle Corporation has acquired and developed the following additional database technologies:


Oracle Fusion Middleware is a family of middleware software products, including (for instance) application server, system integration, business process management (BPM), user interaction, content management, identity management and business intelligence (BI) products.

Oracle Secure Enterprise Search

Oracle Secure Enterprise Search (SES), Oracle's enterprise-search offering, gives users the ability to search for content across multiple locations, including websites, XML files, file servers, content management systems, enterprise resource planning systems, customer relationship management systems, business intelligence systems, and databases.

Oracle Beehive
Main article: Oracle Beehive

Released in 2008, the Oracle Beehive collaboration software provides team workspaces (including wikis, team calendaring and file sharing), email, calendar, instant messaging, and conferencing on a single platform. Customers can use Beehive as licensed software or as software as a service ("SaaS").[15]


Oracle also sells a suite of business applications. The Oracle E-Business Suite includes software to perform various enterprise functions related to (for instance) financials, manufacturing, customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and human resource management. The Oracle Retail Suite[16] covers the retail-industry vertical, providing merchandise management, price management, invoice matching, allocations, store operations management, warehouse management, demand forecasting, merchandise financial planning, assortment planning and category management. Users can access these facilities through a browser interface over the Internet or via a corporate intranet.

Following a number of acquisitions beginning in 2003, especially in the area of applications, Oracle Corporation as of 2008 maintains a number of product lines:

Main article: PeopleSoft
Main article: Siebel Systems
Main article: JD Edwards

Development of applications commonly takes place in Java (using Oracle JDeveloper) or through PL/SQL (using, for example, Oracle Forms and Oracle Reports/BIPublisher). Oracle Corporation has started a drive toward "wizard"-driven environments with a view to enabling non-programmers to produce simple data-driven applications.

Third-party applications

Oracle Corporation works with "Oracle Certified Partners" to enhance its overall product marketing. The variety of applications from third-party vendors includes database applications for archiving, splitting and control, ERP and CRM systems, as well as more niche and focused products providing a range of commercial functions in areas like human resources, financial control and governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC). Vendors include Hewlett-Packard, UC4 Software and Knoa Software.[18]

Enterprise management

Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) provides web-based monitoring and management tools for Oracle products (and for some third-party software), including database management, middleware management, application management, hardware and virtualization management and cloud management.[19]

The Primavera products of Oracle's Primavera Global Business Unit (PGBU) consist of project-management software.[20]

ORAchk (formerly RACchk) examines software in the Oracle software stack and reports on issues.[21]

Development software

Oracle Corporation's tools for developing applications include (amongst others):

Many external and third-party tools make the Oracle database administrator's tasks easier.

File systems

Operating systems

Oracle Corporation develops and supports two operating systems: Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux.


Oracle Exadata and Exalogic


Oracle Cloud

On July 28, 2016 Oracle bought NetSuite, the very first cloud company, for $9.3 billion.[31]

Other Services


Sales practices

In 1990, Oracle laid off 10% (about 400 people) of its work force because of accounting errors.[42] This crisis came about because of Oracle's "up-front" marketing strategy, in which sales people urged potential customers to buy the largest possible amount of software all at once. The sales people then booked the value of future license sales in the current quarter, thereby increasing their bonuses.[43] This became a problem when the future sales subsequently failed to materialize. Oracle eventually had to restate its earnings twice, and also settled (out of court) class-action lawsuits arising from its having overstated its earnings. Ellison stated in 1992 that Oracle had made "an incredible business mistake."[42]


Although IBM dominated the mainframe relational-database market with its DB2 and SQL/DS database products, it delayed entering the market for a relational database on UNIX and Windows operating systems. This left the door open for Sybase, Oracle and Informix (and eventually Microsoft) to dominate mid-range and microcomputers.

Around this time, Oracle technology started to lag technically behind that of Sybase. In 1990–1993 Sybase became the fastest-growing database company and the database industry's darling vendor, but soon fell victim to its merger mania and to technical issues with System X. Sybase's 1993 merger with Powersoft resulted in its losing its focus on its core database technology. In 1993, Sybase sold the rights to its database software running under the Windows operating system to Microsoft Corporation, which now markets it under the name "SQL Server."

In 1994, Informix overtook Sybase and became Oracle's most important rival. The intense war between Informix CEO Phil White and Ellison made front-page news in Silicon Valley for three years. Informix claimed that Oracle had hired away Informix engineers to disclose important trade secrets about an upcoming product. Informix finally dropped its lawsuit against Oracle in 1997.[44] In November 2005, a book detailing the war between Oracle and Informix was published, titled The Real Story of Informix Software and Phil White. It gave a detailed chronology of the battle of Informix against Oracle, and how Informix Software's CEO Phil White landed in jail because of his obsession with overtaking Ellison.

Once it had overcome Informix and Sybase, Oracle Corporation enjoyed years of dominance in the database market until use of Microsoft SQL Server became widespread in the late 1990s and IBM acquired Informix Software in 2001 (to complement its DB2 database). Today Oracle competes for new database licenses on UNIX, Linux, and Windows operating systems primarily against IBM's DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server. IBM's DB2 still dominates the mainframe database market.

In 2004, Oracle's sales grew at a rate of 14.5% to $6.2 billion, giving it 41.3% and the top share of the relational-database market (InformationWeek – March 2005), with market share estimated at up to 44.6% in 2005 by some sources.[45] Oracle Corporation's main competitors in the database arena remain IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server, and to a lesser extent Sybase and Teradata[45], with open-source databases such as PostgreSQL and MySQL also having a significant[46] share of the market. EnterpriseDB, based on PostgreSQL, has recently made inroads[47] by proclaiming that its product delivers Oracle compatibility features at a much lower price-point.

In the software-applications market, Oracle Corporation primarily competes against SAP. On March 22, 2007 Oracle sued SAP, accusing them of fraud and unfair competition.[48]

In the market for business intelligence software, many other software companies—small and large—have successfully competed in quality with Oracle and SAP products. Business intelligence vendors can be categorized into the "big four" consolidated BI firms such as Oracle, who has entered BI market through a recent trend of acquisitions (including Hyperion Solutions), and the independent "pure play" vendors such as MicroStrategy, Actuate, and SAS.[49]

Oracle Financials was ranked in the Top 20 Most Popular Accounting Software Infographic by Capterra in 2014, beating out SAP and a number of their other competitors.[50]

Oracle and SAP

From 1988, Oracle Corporation and the German company SAP AG had a decade-long history of cooperation, beginning with the integration of SAP's R/3 enterprise application suite with Oracle's relational database products. The marketplace regarded the two firms' products as complementing one another, rather than as substitutes. Despite the current SAP partnership with Microsoft, and the increasing integration of SAP applications with Microsoft products (such as Microsoft SQL Server, a competitor to Oracle Database), Oracle and SAP continue their cooperation. According to Oracle Corporation, the majority of SAP's customers use Oracle databases.[51]

In recent years, however, competition between Oracle and SAP has increased, and as a result, the rivalry between the two companies has grown, even developing into a feud between the co-founders of the two companies, where one party would frequently voice strong negative comments about the other company.

In 2004, Oracle began to increase its interest in the enterprise-applications market (in 1989, Oracle had already released Oracle Financials). A series of acquisitions by Oracle Corporation began, most notably those of PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems and Hyperion.

SAP recognized that Oracle had started to become a competitor in a market where SAP had the leadership, and saw an opportunity to lure in customers from those companies that Oracle Corporation had acquired. SAP would offer those customers special discounts on the licenses for its enterprise applications.

Oracle Corporation would resort to a similar strategy, by advising SAP customers to get "OFF SAP" (a play on the words of the acronym for its middleware platform "Oracle Fusion for SAP"),[52] and also by providing special discounts on licenses and services to SAP customers who chose Oracle Corporation products.

Currently Oracle and SAP (the latter through its recently acquired subsidiary TomorrowNow) compete in the third-party enterprise software maintenance and support market. On March 22, 2007, Oracle filed a lawsuit against SAP. In Oracle Corporation v. SAP AG Oracle alleged that TomorrowNow, which provides discount support for legacy Oracle product lines, used the accounts of former Oracle customers to systematically download patches and support documents from Oracle's website and to appropriate them for SAP's use.[53] Some analysts have suggested the suit could form part of a strategy by Oracle Corporation to decrease competition with SAP in the market for third-party enterprise software maintenance and support.[54]

On July 3, 2007, SAP admitted that TomorrowNow employees had made "inappropriate downloads" from the Oracle support website. However, it claims that SAP personnel and SAP customers had no access to Oracle intellectual property via TomorrowNow. SAP's CEO Henning Kagermann stated that "Even a single inappropriate download is unacceptable from my perspective. We regret very much that this occurred." Additionally, SAP announced that it had "instituted changes" in TomorrowNow's operational oversight.[55]

On November 23, 2010, a U.S. district court jury in Oakland California found that SAP AG must pay Oracle Corp $1.3 billion for copyright infringement, awarding damages that could be the largest-ever for copyright infringement. While admitting liability, SAP estimated the damages at no more than $40 million, while Oracle claimed that they are at least $1.65 billion. The awarded amount is one of the 10 or 20 largest jury verdicts in U.S. legal history. SAP said they were disappointed by the verdict and might appeal.[56] On September 1, 2011, a federal judge overturned the judgment and offered a reduced amount or a new trial, calling Oracle's original award "grossly" excessive.[57] Oracle chose a new trial.

On August 3, 2012, SAP and Oracle agreed on a judgment for $306 million in damages, pending approval from the U.S. district court judge, “to save time and expense of [a] new trial". After the accord has been approved, Oracle can ask a federal appeals court to reinstate the earlier jury verdict. In addition to the damages payment, SAP has already paid Oracle $120 million for its legal fees.[58]



Oracle Corporation produces and distributes the "Oracle ClearView" series of videos as part of its marketing mix.[62]



In 2000, Oracle attracted attention from the computer industry and the press after hiring private investigators to dig through the trash of organizations involved in an antitrust trial involving Microsoft.[63] The Chairman of Oracle Corporation, Larry Ellison, staunchly defended his company's hiring of an East Coast detective agency to investigate groups that supported rival Microsoft Corporation during its antitrust trial, calling the snooping a "public service." The investigation reportedly included a $1,200 offer to janitors at the Association for Competitive Technology to look through Microsoft's trash. When asked how he'd feel if others were looking into Oracle's business activities, Ellison said: "We will ship our garbage to Redmond, and they can go through it. We believe in full disclosure."[64]

"Can't break it, can't break in"

In 2002, Oracle Corporation marketed many of its products using the slogan "Can't break it, can't break in," or "Unbreakable."[65] This signified a demand on information security. Oracle Corporation also stressed the reliability of networked databases and network access to databases as major selling points.

However, two weeks after its introduction, David Litchfield, Alexander Kornbrust, Cesar Cerrudo and others demonstrated a whole suite of successful attacks against Oracle products.[66][67] Commentators criticized the slogan as unrealistic and as an invitation to crackers, but Oracle Corporation's chief security officer Mary Ann Davidson portrayed the criticism as unfair. Rather than representing a literal claim of Oracle's products' impregnability, she saw the campaign in the context of fourteen independent security evaluations[68] that Oracle Corporation's database server had passed.

Relationship with John Ashcroft

In 2004, then-United States Attorney General John Ashcroft sued Oracle Corporation to prevent it from acquiring a multibillion-dollar intelligence contract. After Ashcroft's resignation from government, he founded a lobbying firm, The Ashcroft Group, which Oracle hired in 2005. With the group's help, Oracle went on to acquire the contract.[69]

Expeditionary Combat Support System

Computer Sciences Corporation reportedly spent a billion dollars developing a computer system for the United States Air Force that yielded no significant capability, because, according to an Air Force source, the Oracle software on which the system was based could not be adapted to meet the specialized performance criteria.[70]

Cover Oregon Healthcare Exchange

Oracle Corporation was awarded a contract by the State of Oregon's Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to develop Cover Oregon, the state's healthcare exchange website, as part of the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. When the site tried to go live on October 1, 2013, it failed, and registrations had to be taken using paper applications until the site could be fixed.

On April 25, 2014, the State of Oregon voted to discontinue Cover Oregon and instead use the federal exchange to enroll Oregon residents.[71] The cost of switching to the federal portal was estimated at $5 million, whereas fixing Cover Oregon would have required another $78 million.

Oracle president Safra Catz responded to Cover Oregon and the OHA in a letter claiming that the site's problems were due to OHA mismanagement, specifically that a third-party systems integrator was not hired to manage the complex project.[72][73]

In August 2014, Oracle Corporation sued Cover Oregon for breach of contract,[74] and then later that month the state of Oregon sued Oracle Corporation, in a civil complaint for breach of contract and "racketeering".[75] In September 2016, the two sides reached a settlement which included a $100 million payment from Oracle to the state, and a six-year agreement for Oracle to continue modernizing state software and IT.[76]


Acquisition of Sun Microsystems

On January 27, 2010, Oracle announced it had completed its acquisition of Sun Microsystems— valued at more than $7 billion—a move that transformed Oracle from solely a software company to a manufacturer of both software and hardware. The acquisition was delayed for several months by the EU Commission because of concerns about MySQL, but was unconditionally approved in the end.[77] This acquisition was important to some in the open source community and also to some other companies, as they feared Oracle might end Sun's traditional support of open source projects.[78][79][80][81] Since the acquisition, Oracle has discontinued OpenSolaris and StarOffice, and sued Google over their newly acquired Java patents from Sun.[82][83] In September 2011, U.S. State Department Embassy cables were leaked[84] to Wikileaks. One cable revealed that the U.S. pressured the E.U. to allow Oracle to acquire Sun.[85]

Justice Department lawsuit

On July 29, 2010, the United States Department of Justice filed suit against Oracle Corporation alleging fraud. The lawsuit argues that the government received deals inferior to those Oracle gave to its commercial clients. The DoJ added its heft to an already existing whistleblower lawsuit filed by Paul Frascella, who was once senior director of contract services at Oracle.[86] It was settled in May 2012[87]

Lawsuit against Google

Main article: Oracle v. Google

On August 12, 2010, Oracle announced a lawsuit against Google concerning patent and copyright infringement of Java in Google's development of Android. Oracle claimed that "Google’s Android competes with Oracle America’s Java" and that "Google has been aware of Sun’s patent portfolio ... since Google hired certain former Sun Java engineers."[88][89] Oracle acquired the Java patents when it bought Sun Microsystems in January 2010.[90] Google's reimplementation of the Java platform supports most Java functionality, apart from AWT and Swing, instead supplying a native widget toolkit.[91]

Oracle originally sought damages up to $6.1 billion,[92] but this valuation was rejected by a federal judge who asked Oracle to revise the estimate.[93] In May 2012, the jury in this case found that Google did not infringe on Oracle's patents, and the trial judge ruled that the structure of the Java APIs used by Google was not copyrightable.[94][95]

On September 5, 2012, Oracle was ordered by a federal judge to pay Google's legal fees, which were over $1 million.[96]

Google has accused Apple, Oracle and Microsoft of trying to take down Android through patent litigation, rather than innovating and competing with better products and services.[97] In August 2011, Google started the process of purchasing Motorola Mobility for US$12.5 billion, which was viewed in part as a defensive measure to protect Android, since Motorola Mobility holds more than 17,000 patents.[98] In late May 2012, it successfully completed acquisition of the company, thus adding its patents portfolio virtually unto its own, as a potential defensive measure. Google has also acquired thousands of patents from IBM.[99]

Discontinuation of OpenSolaris

On August 13, 2010, an internal Oracle memo leaked to the Internet cited plans for ending the OpenSolaris operating system project and community.[100] With Oracle planning to develop Solaris only in a closed source fashion, OpenSolaris developers moved to the Illumos and OpenIndiana project, among others.[101]

Discontinuation of OpenSSO

As Oracle completed their acquisition of Sun Microsystems in February 2010, they announced that OpenSSO would no longer be their strategic product.[102] Shortly after, OpenSSO was forked to OpenAM.[102] and will continue to be developed and supported by ForgeRock.

Mark Hurd as President

On September 6, 2010, Oracle announced that former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd is replacing Charles Phillips as Oracle Co-President. Apparently Phillips had wanted to leave Oracle since December 2009. "Oracle is clearly capitalizing on this opportunity to get someone strong from a top hardware company," said Forrester analyst James Staten. "In terms of how this helps Oracle against IBM, there is reason to be optimistic."[103]

Mark Hurd resigned from HP "after an investigation of his relationship with a female contractor found he violated the company's business standards." HP said Hurd "didn't violate the company's policy regarding sexual-harassment."[104]

On September 7, 2010, HP announced a civil lawsuit against Mark Hurd "to protect HP's trade secrets."[105] On September 20, Oracle and HP published a joint press release announcing the resolution of the lawsuit on confidential terms and reaffirming commitment to long-term strategic partnership between the companies.[106] issue

A number of developers had formed The Document Foundation and had received backing by Google, Novell, Red Hat, and Canonical, as well as some others, but were unable to get Oracle to donate the brand, causing a fork in the development of with the foundation now developing and promoting LibreOffice. Oracle has expressed no interest in sponsoring the new project and has asked the developers that have started the project to resign from the company due to "conflicts of interest." On November 1, 2010, 33 of the developers gave their letters of resignation.[107] On June 1, 2011, Oracle donated to the Apache Software Foundation.[108]

HP and Oracle lawsuit

On June 15, 2011, HP filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court in Santa Clara, claiming that Oracle had breached an agreement to support the Itanium microprocessor used in HP's high-end enterprise servers.[109] Oracle called the lawsuit "an abuse of the judicial process"[110] and said that had it known SAP's Leo Apotheker was about to be hired as HP's new CEO, any support for HP's Itanium servers would not have been implied.[111]

On August 1, 2012, a California judge said in a tentative ruling that Oracle must continue porting its software at no cost until HP discontinues its sales of Itanium-based servers.[112][113] HP was awarded $3 billion in damages against Oracle in 2016.[114] HP argued Oracle's canceling support damaged HP's Itanium server brand. Oracle has announced it will appeal both the decision and damages.

Foreign corrupt practices

On August 31, 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported that Oracle was being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for paying bribes to government officials in order to win business in Africa, in contravention of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).[115]

GSA business bidding ban

On April 20, 2012 the US General Services Administration banned Oracle from the most popular portal for bidding on GSA contracts for undisclosed reasons. Oracle has previously used this portal for around four hundred million dollars a year in revenue.[116] Oracle previously settled a lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act, which accused the company of overbilling the US government between 1998 and 2006. The 2011 settlement forced Oracle to pay $199.5 million to the General Services Administration.[117]



Oracle Corporation has its overall headquarters on the San Francisco Peninsula in the Redwood Shores area of Redwood City, adjacent to Belmont and near San Carlos Airport (IATA airport code: SQL).

Oracle HQ stands on the former site of Marine World Africa USA, which moved from Redwood Shores to Vallejo in 1986. Oracle Corporation originally leased two buildings on the site, moving its finance and administration departments from the corporation's former headquarters on Davis Drive, Belmont, California. Eventually, Oracle purchased the complex and constructed a further four main buildings.

The distinctive Oracle Parkway buildings, nicknamed the Emerald City,[121] served as sets for the futuristic headquarters of the fictional company "NorthAm Robotics" in the Robin Williams film Bicentennial Man (1999).[122] The campus represented the headquarters of Cyberdyne Systems in the movie Terminator Genisys (2015).[123]

Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, California.

Corporate structures

Oracle Corporation operates in multiple markets and has acquired several companies which formerly functioned autonomously.

Subdivisions of Oracle Corporation include:


BMW Oracle Racing USA-71, at the German Sailing Grand Prix Kiel 2006. It was moored at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, California until 2014.

On October 20, 2006, the Golden State Warriors and the Oracle Corporation announced a 10-year agreement in which the Oakland Arena would become known as the Oracle Arena.[124]

Larry Ellison's sailing team competes as Oracle Team USA. The team has won the America's Cup twice, in 2010 (as BMW Oracle Racing)[125] and in 2013.[126]

Sean Tucker's "Challenger II" stunt biplane performs frequently at air shows around the US.[127]

See also


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