Oracle's Ellison Making a Statement by Hiring Hurd: Analysts

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-09-07 Print this article Print

That statement: Oracle is deadly serious about competing with both HP and IBM at the highest levels for enterprise IT systems business.

The addition of Mark Hurd to the top level of Oracle's corporate leadership is creating a lot of talk in many levels of business: in Silicon Valley, in Wall Street-and even in legal circles.

Only a day after CEO and co-founder Larry Ellison hired the former Hewlett-Packard CEO to be a co-president alongside incumbent co-President Safra Catz, HP announced that it begun a civil lawsuit against Hurd for joining one of its most powerful competitors so soon after taking a $40 million severance package.

Legal issues aside, analysts contacted by eWEEK agreed on this: Ellison is making a statement by immediately hiring Hurd after his Aug. 6 ouster at HP.

And that statement would be this: Oracle, by hiring the highly successful former CEO of the world's largest IT company, is deadly serious about competing with both HP and IBM at the highest levels for enterprise IT systems business.

"This shows that they [Oracle] are serious about being a more general systems vendor-the systems vendor they never have been," Mark Peters, storage and cloud computing analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, told eWEEK. 

"It's what he brings by reputation and stature, more than anything else. I don't think he particularly brings anything from a storage and cloud perspective, because that's so much about having the right people around you."

It's about management, not technology

Hurd's whole "package"-despite his forced resignation Aug. 6 following a sexual harassment allegation by a former HP employee-is all about management, not necessarily technology, Peters said.

"The civil suit, in that respect, is kind of funny, because it's almost like a necessary step in the corporate tango," Peters said. "I don't think the civil suit is about a particular technology or market secrets; it's more about they don't want this smart manager going somewhere else."

After replacing Carly Fiorina as CEO in March 2005, Hurd immediately started building HP's presence in the storage and software businesses. Is the addition of Hurd a necessary step for Oracle when it comes to developing its storage and cloud computing businesses?

"Yes, it is," Vice President and Principal Analyst James Staten of Forrester Research told eWEEK. "If you take a look at what they [Oracle] acquired, they got a really nice portfolio of products, some pretty innovative technologies, but not a lot of management depth around how to manage that business.

"That's really what Mark will initially fill. Obviously, he'll have to build out a team and evaluate the talent that's already there. I suspect that, having come from a very successful hardware company, he's going to make some changes, for sure."

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 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 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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