What Does Oracle Foresee in the Clouds?

In the world of IT, 35-year-old Oracle Corp. is one of the veterans. It also continues to be a big player, with $37 billion in revenues in its 2012 fiscal year.

But the company knows that if it wants to remain a big player, it needs to be big in the cloud. So, this June, the company announced Oracle Cloud, with online applications for customer relationship management, human relations and enterprise social networking. The Oracle cloud includes both platform as a service (PaaS), with online operating systems and network setups, and software as a service (SaaS), with applications and software that live on the company’s servers.

The move puts Oracle in line with longtime competitors like Microsoft, SAP and Google and also lines it up against Salesforce and other SaaS players. InfoWorld has an interesting interview with Oracle Senior VP Abhay Parasnis in which Parasnis emphasizes that the company’s cloud will offer an easy transition for large enterprises that have invested heavily in the way they work with their IT and now want to take it into the cloud.

Aside from moving its existing offerings into the cloud, Oracle has been on a buying spree lately, snapping up companies that offer various cloud services. Among its acquisitions this year are network virtualization provider Xsigo Systems, social media manager Involver, and cloud-based talent management company Taleo Corp., social marketing platform Virtue and social media and text analysis company Collective Intellect.

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts on major cloud computing players.

Google vs Oracle

Google is one of the largest tech firms in the world. It’s a rule of thumb in the business world that the big you are, the bigger the target you are for lawsuits. The search engine giant is no different. Currently, Google is being sued by Oracle, the proprietor of the computer language Java, to the sum of one billion dollars. Oracle contends that Google’s mobile platform, Android, uses patented aspects of Java. Google contends that the aspects that they used are open source and therefore not subject to copyright law. It’s an interesting case, revolving around the linchpin of the nature of modern intellectual property law.

Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, testified that Java APIs were not subject to copyright since Google didn’t use the Java name in their products. The company Sun Microsystems, created Java and was then acquired by Oracle in 2010. However, Chairman Scott McNealy of Sun, claimed that Google did violate their patents. He also claimed that Google’s actions were hurting his company. It should be noted that in the five years that Google has released platform based phones no law suit was filed. It was only after Oracle bought Sun were motions filed.

This is an interesting case. Everyone from IT professionals to ice cream truck drivers will be indirectly affected. This lawsuit is more than two companies fighting over bits of codes. At the heart of the matter is a debate on how we treat and share data. We live in an age where data can be copied without a track. Data is as real as it is intangible.