Thomas Kurian, senior vice president of Oracle Server Technologies, spent an hour on stage at OpenWorld this morning patiently talking through various new features in the company's growing Fusion Middleware portfolio, which includes a laundry list of products, such as SOA Suite, WebCenter Suite, JDeveloper, Application Development Framework, Application Server, Identity Management Suite, Enterprise Content Management Suite, Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Business Process Management, Enterprise Performance Management System and Enterprise Manager for Oracle Fusion Middleware.
Dressed in the Oracle uniform, a hand-tailored dark suit and solid-colored tie, the 11-year Oracle veteran spoke in a monotone as he said, "Oracle is the middleware leader because we have best products."
In Oracle parlance, middleware is everything that isn't the database or the end user applications.
For evidence, he pointed to leadership status in Gartner Magic Quadrants and 50,000 customers, including 88 of the largest 100 publicly traded companies.
Fusion is also the name for Oracle's next generation set of applications, due starting next year. Oracle is infusing its current set of legacy applications with Fusion Middleware as a step in the migration to Fusion applications, according to Ed Abbo, senior vice president of applications at Oracle.
Fusion might as well be the name for Oracle's database because the clear strategy for the company is to become the one-stop show for corporate enterprise software needs.
It's in the DNA of the company and its founder Larry Ellison to win, as evidenced by the relentless consolidation play and 30 years of relatively continuous growth--"unbreakable" Oracle. Peaceful co-existence with competitors is not the native state of mind. Oracle started out as the single database of record, and with the applications roll up and middleware (mostly gained through 41 acquisitions in the last 45 months), the goal is to become the single software company of record for customers. It's not much different from Microsoft's desire to be number one in multiple categories, but more focused.
Both recognize the need to fit in rather than just stand out in the enterprise. Kurian and other company executives make a point of the openness and standards-based approach applied to Oracle software. That said, Oracle is weaving together its three prongs to offer a more consistent, pre-integrated user experience than third-party components could provide.
The question is whether customers will give Oracle more share of their wallets. In an age in which simplification, higher levels of software abstraction, a desire for fewer vendor relationships, lower cost and Internet-based services are important, Oracle is preaching to some of the choir. On the other hand, one throat to choke may not be enough to alleviate the fears of the those less willing to bet on the ultimate Fusion.