Oracle buys Endeca, makes an unstructured data statement

Oracle plans to take Endeca's technology and combine it with its ATG Commerce offering and business intelligence tools.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Oracle on Tuesday acquired Endeca, an unstructured data software and business intelligence player, for an undisclosed sum. The deal is notable on many fronts. For starters, Oracle is serious about content management and unstructured data. HP bought Autonomy with the same market in mind. Endeca was on tap to go public and raised $65 million from various venture firms as well as Oracle rival SAP. Endeca last disclosed its sales in 2007, a year where it delivered $108 million in revenue.

HP representatives moved quickly to downplay the Oracle-Endeca deal. In a PR pitch requesting a briefing at the Gartner Symposium, HP reps described Endeca as a "second tier player in unstructured data." In addition, HP reps noted that there's an unstructured data arms race between the company and Oracle.

For its part, Oracle plans to take Endeca's technology and combine it with its ATG Commerce offering. Oracle's move gives it Endeca's MDEX engine, which makes sense of unstructured data, Endeca InFront, an e-commerce platform, and Endeca Latitude, which provides analytics.

According to Oracle, the deal will close at the end of 2011.

Analysts said Oracle's acquisition of Endeca is notable on many fronts:

  • Forrester analyst Boris Evelson said that Oracle is targeting enterprise search and trying to meld it with business intelligence. Evelson said Oracle's move will impact SAP, Microsoft FAST Search and other vendors such as QlikView and Tibco.

  • Leslie Owens, Forrester's enterprise search analyst, said:

It's unusual to see a fit like this, where Endeca's technology matches two different focus areas for Oracle: 1) Customer experience: Endeca has marquee eCommerce customers who use its on-site search and merchandising solutions. 2) Agile BI: Endeca was early at positioning search as an exploratory tool for non-technical users to map diverse data and content together.

  • Cowen analyst Peter Goldmacher wasn't so upbeat on the deal. He said:

You know, I have visited Endeca three times in the last seven years and each time the story had changed. I read a few of the write ups this morning and every one of them described the business differently. My thought is I have no idea what Oracle just bought and I wonder if they know, but of course that doesn't mean they won't sell the shit out of it.

Oracle's presentation on the deal highlights how it sees Endeca fitting with its portfolio.

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