Oracle's Hurd defends cloud strategy in light of exec shuffle

When asked why it takes two CEOs to replace Larry Ellison, Hurd laughed, "I think you answered your own question."

SAN FRANCISCO---For anyone questioning whether or not Oracle's cloud game plan has been slipping, executives have taken every opportunity at OpenWorld 2014 this week to nip that talk in the bud.

"Our ability to keep up with innovation is unparalleled," asserted co-CEO Mark Hurd while speaking to the media on Monday. "R&D spend is not a fair representation of Oracle's innovation. It's what we spend plus what is brought into Oracle through acquisitions."

Holding court at the St. Regis Hotel across the street from the OpenWorld bash, Hurd recapped the slew of cloud updates introduced by chairman and CTO Larry Ellison on Sunday night, covering all three layers of cloud services (Platform, Software, and Infrastructure-as-a-Service).

Reiterating Ellison's standpoint, Hurd insisted Oracle stands apart from the industry at the Platform layer especially thanks to standards-based Java and Database-as-a-Service offerings. 

On Software-as-a-Service, Hurd further boasted Oracle offers more SaaS apps than anyone, dozens upon dozens of which were developed in 2014 alone. Tipping over more than a few hundred, Oracle's SaaS app portfolio holds more than 84 HCM and marketing products each as well as 113 service and 69 sales cloud apps.

"We are very focused on the cloud," Hurd summarized. "I hope the best evidence you have of that is what we just covered."

"Our focus is on executing the strategy we have. It is not about changing the strategy," Hurd continued.

Oracle's additional developments this week include the SPARC M7 Microprocessor for software now in silicon, Exalytics with Database in-memory, the Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance, the Oracle Analytics Cloud, Oracle FS1 flash storage (notably taking aim at EMC), and a pair of new data centers in Germany.

"We tend to release a lot of products at one time. In some cases, we release too many products," Hurd grinned, admitting that plays into one of his "fears" about OpenWorld being too overwhelming. He revealed that news about Oracle's mobile framework for B2C customers has yet to be announced this week.

Recalling comments made by CIOs at a number of Oracle's high-profile customer companies, Hurd suggested the marketplace has shifted in favor of making good and "exploiting" the opportunities presented by "digital disruption" that is the cloud.

If anything, Hurd argued, IT departments are looking to innovate faster and their budgets are "soaring."

In light of the recent leadership changes seeing Hurd and Safra Catz promoted to co-CEOs for the tech giant, Hurd downplayed any affect that could have played whatsoever.

"Our focus is on executing the strategy we have. It is not about changing the strategy," Hurd continued. "If anything we're more riveted about our strategy than ever. We feel like we have a winning hand."

When asked why it takes two CEOs to replace Larry Ellison, Hurd laughed, "I think you answered your own question."