Oracle is acquiring Art Technology Group, and its platform of e-commerce software and on-demand applications, in its latest company purchase.
Oracle is acquiring Art Technology Group, which provides
e-commerce software and on-demand applications, for $1 billion. In theory, the
acquisition will expand Oracle's abilities in online customer services, which
in turn would complement the company's existing CRM, ERP, retail and
ATG's assets include on-demand commerce-optimization
applications, such as live-help services and automated recommendations. Oracle
expects the deal to close by early 2011.
"Driven by the convergence of online and traditional
commerce and the need to increase revenue and improve customer loyalty,
organizations across many industries are looking for a unified commerce and CRM
platform to provide a seamless experience across all commerce channels," Thomas
Kurian, executive vice president for Oracle Development, wrote in a Nov. 2
statement. "Bringing together the complementary technologies and products from
Oracle and ATG will enable the delivery of next-generation, unified
cross-channel commerce and CRM."
In its mission to become the largest and most
mission-critical IT systems vendor in the world, Oracle has engaged in the
regular acquisition of companies whose capabilities will allow it to build out
its offerings-not only smaller startups, but also enormous firms such as Sun
Microsystems, which Oracle purchased for $7.4 billion. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison
has discussed his company's designs on melding software and hardware into "systems
that can be the backbone of most enterprises around the world."
That "complete stack" philosophy leads to products such
as Fusion Middleware 11g
, which offers IT administrators control over every
level of their networks without the need to improvise a cobbled-together IT
infrastructure. Oracle's desire to expand itself into every IT-centric aspect
of modern business, however, also gives it a variety of competitors across the
spectrum, from Microsoft to IBM. The ATG acquisition, with its on-demand and
customer-service focus, could be used to press Oracle's competition with
"ATG has +1K enterprise customers worldwide, many of which overlap
with Oracle, and its solutions are deployed by the highest number of
large online retailers ([relative] to competitors," Ross MacMillan, an
analyst with Jefferies & Co., wrote in a co-authored Nov. 2
research note. "As most of the retail spend these days remains focused
on e-commerce, we believe ATG's assets fit nicely with Oracle's
portfolio of retail solutions."
Meanwhile, Oracle also finds itself locked in a vicious
courtroom battle with SAP, alleging that the latter's TomorrowNow subsidiary
stole its software documentation and confidential material. SAP acknowledges
that illegal downloads took place via unauthorized access to an Oracle customer
support Website, but claims it never saw the actual data.
In a motion filed Oct. 22, SAP's lawyers asked a federal
judge for a gag order on Oracle. That
didn't seem to stop Ellison from accusing Leo Apotheker
, SAP's former CEO,
of "overseeing an industrial espionage scheme centering on the repeated theft
of massive amounts of Oracle's software." Apotheker is now CEO of