Enterprise Applications: Oracle at 35: 16 Milestones in the Growth of World's First RDBMS Company

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-06-14 Print this article Print
Partners Found Software Development Laboratories

Partners Found Software Development Laboratories

Software Development Laboratories, the precursor to Oracle, is founded in 1977 by Larry Ellison (right), Bob Miner (left) and Ed Oates. A more generic name for an IT company would have been hard to find.
Oracle turns 35 on June 16, and it has been among the sales leaders in enterprise IT for most of those years. When the company went public in 1986, it had 450 employees and annual revenue of $55 million. Twenty-six years later, Oracle has a market cap of $135 billion, a global full-time workforce of 108,000 and annual revenue of $37 billion. Those numbers say a lot. Perhaps Bruce Scott, co-architect and co-author of the first three versions of Oracle Database, explains Oracle's success succinctly with a simple story about its co-founder and CEO, Larry Ellison. "I've thought a lot about why Oracle was successful," Scott said. "I really think that it was Larry Ellison. There were a lot of other databases out there that we beat. It was really Larry's charisma, vision and his determination to make this thing work no matter what. It's just the way Larry thinks. I can give you an example of his thought processes: We had space allocated to us, and we needed to get our terminals strung to the computer room next door. We didn't have anywhere to really string the wiring. Larry picks up a hammer, crashes a hole in the middle of the wall, and says, ‘There you go.' It's just the way he thinks—make a hole—make it happen somehow." The following slide show illustrates the path of Oracle's development during the past third of a century.
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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