пятница, 27 декабря 2013 г.

Computerworld - Oracle's growth-by-acquisition strategy has slowed markedly this year, and analysts say the firm is concentrating instead on integrating Sun Microsystems products and personnel into the company and finishing work on the long-awaited Fusion Applications. So far this year, the company's acquisitions have been limited to picking up some intellectual property assets in February from privately held Ndevr, a maker of environmental reporting and analytics software, and acquiring U.K.-based Datanomic, a small, venture-funded data-quality vendor, in April. Sale prices were not disclosed in either deal, suggesting that neither is material to Oracle's bottom line. In contrast, the company completed some 70 deals, several of which were major, billion-dollar-plus acquisitions, between 2005 and 2010. Oracle's last big acquisition -- the $7.4 billion purchase of Sun -- closed in early 2010. Since then, Oracle has been working to shore up Sun's hardware business and started pushing a vision of integrated systems that span from disks to applications. In the foreseeable future, analysts expect that Oracle will concentrate on acquiring some key technologies that could improve its standing in fast-growing areas like "big data" management, mobile technologies and social software. Forrester Research analyst James Kobielus said Oracle may be joining "everyone and his brother" in going after technologies related to the open-source Hadoop framework for large-scale data processing. Possible acquisition targets include Datameer, Karmasphere and Cloudera, which offer a variety of Hadoop tools and services, he said. Ray Wang, an analyst at Constellation Research, added that the company is also likely to try to fill holes with mobile technology and social software assets. "There may be a shift in their portfolio [strategy] to pick up those things," he said. Wang suggested that Oracle could take a look at emerging platform-as-a-service vendors such as Joyent or Engine Yard to boost its mobile business. For social applications, Oracle has a wide variety of acquisition choices, he added, among them Jive Software, which has been rumored to be candidate for acquisition. Wang said it's likely that Oracle is interested in adding healthcare applications to its software portfolio, not just for electronic medical records, but also in areas such as nurse recruiting and adverse-event reporting for pharmaceuticals. The healthcare analytics tools would probably be built on top of its core business intelligence stack, he said. Oracle may also be looking to further increase its growing emphasis on hardware. Last year, for example, the company acquired a 10.2% stake in Mellanox, a maker of InfiniBand interconnects. Also, while few analysts expect that Oracle will invest heavily in professional services to compete with the likes of Hewlett-Packard and IBM, it could buy small, specialist systems-integration firms, particularly those that focus on BI projects. An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment on the company's plans. But once the company is done integrating Sun and developing the modular Fusion Applications, its rapid-growth-by-acquisition strategy could return. Observers note that executives cited former HP CEO Mark Hurd's experience "operating a $100 billion business" as one reason Oracle hired him as a co-president last year. Kanaracus is a reporter for the IDG News Service. James Niccolai of the IDG News Service contributed to this story.

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