Oracle CEO Mark Hurd is warning competitors like Salesforce.com and SAP that the software giant plans to increase its share of the booming cloud computing market.
In an interview on CNBC's Squawk on the Street Jan. 29, Hurd noted Oracle's growth in cloud revenues in recent quarters, pointing to the company's efforts in sales, R&D and engineering over the past six to seven years as the drivers for its success in making the transition to the cloud.
"I think Oracle's in a position where we have a fantastic product portfolio," the CEO said. "We're in a marvelous competitive position. We think we're in a position to take market share. … Make no mistake about it, we are laser-focused on taking share. We're focused on growing. We're focused on driving the company forward."
Oracle was famously late to the cloud, with then-CEO Larry Ellison in 2008 saying the cloud was nothing more than a marketing gimmick. However, the company over the past several years has been aggressively pursuing the space, including building its capabilities through in-house developing and outside acquisitions, optimizing all of its applications for the cloud and training its sales teams to handle the changing ways businesses are buying their technology.
Hurd said Oracle has put in the time over the last several years to get its more than 600 enterprise applications ready for the cloud and in building up its capabilities in all segments of the enterprise cloud, from infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) to platform-as-a-service (PaaS) to software-as-a-service (SaaS).
"It's been one that built over time," he said. "It's a lot of R&D. It's a lot of work to write software that's been a six-, seven-year process at Oracle. It's been building a sales force. It's educating the sales force. It's creating awareness with customers."
The results have been good, Hurd said.
"We're one of the few cloud companies that … not only [is] getting bigger but our growth rate is actually accelerating at the same time," he said. "At the end of the day, it's about performance. … We have built over a period of time a suite of capabilities, not one application. We have brought to the market best-[of]-breed applications, and we now are growing faster than [Salesforce.com is]. We're getting bigger and growing faster as we're getting bigger."
Hurd noted that Oracle officials have said they expect to book more cloud business in the next fiscal year than any other cloud company.
During Oracle's latest quarterly earnings call in December, Hurd, co-CEO Safra Catz and Ellison—now executive chairman and CTO—outlined the performance of Oracle's cloud business, noting that total cloud revenue climbed 47 percent over the same period in 2013 to $519 million, while revenues for its SaaS and PaaS businesses were up 41 percent. It's still a relatively small percentage of Oracle's overall revenue, but it's growing. They also said that Oracle's SaaS business added 860 new customers during the three months—with 230 subscribing for more than one set of applications—and its new PaaS offering brought in 150 new customers.
During a conference call to announce the earnings, a typically boastful Ellison said he expects Oracle to sell more than $1 billion in new annual cloud subscriptions in the next fiscal year.
"We have a good chance of passing [Salesforce.com]," he said, according a transcript on Seeking Alpha. "We could pass them or catch them … but it's going to be very close. We are in that ballpark. … They are only twice as big as us. We are growing a lot faster, and we have a lot more products, and we have a large install base to see into. We think we can become No. 1 in the cloud. We think we will be No. 1 in the cloud, and we will be No. 1 in the cloud very quickly."