Microsoft and Oracle: Fear Helps Make New Friends

June 6, 2019

I found “Microsoft, Oracle Team Up on Cloud Services in Jab at Amazon” amusing. The real news outfit Thomson Reuters reported this unusual big company relationship when I was making my way through torrential rain in lovely West Virginia coal country. The mist did disguise the land renewal, but this Microsoft Oracle relationship is going to make for a nifty road trip video.

Imagine. The elegant Larry Ellison and the sleek Satya Nadella explaining how old school databases are the pajamas made for the cool cats. Amazon and Google will pay attention to this odd couple because it makes very visible the fear which both companies have for their database futures. Forget the cloud. We’re talking databases anywhere: On premises, hybrid, in the cloud, or residing in some wonky quantum storage thing yet to be made stable, affordable, and usable by a normal rocket scientist.

The news report does not wax poetic, nor does it offer much in the way of addressing the fear thing. I did note this statement:

The two companies said the high-speed link between their data centers would start with facilities in the eastern United States and spread to other regions. They will also work together to let joint users log into to services from either company with a single user name and get tech support from either company. The move comes as both Oracle and Microsoft are courting large businesses and government customers considering moving computing tasks currently handled in their own data centers to cloud providers.

I would point out that Oracle has chosen to add its legal pointy stick to its approach to database efficacy. Microsoft, on the other hand, is working overtime to explain that it is the solution to a range of data management issues. If one does not think about Microsoft’s struggles to update its Windows operating system, the PR sounds darned convincing.

I wish to offer a couple of observations:

First, Amazon and Google continue to capture the attention of the next generation of innovators. Oh, I know that there are clever Microsoft and Oracle wizards inventing the future at this very moment. But let’s be real: Amazon has an innovation ecosystem. Google may not have the perseverance to make its products work and then “put wood behind” some to make them competitive, but the Google does have a low cost phone and the ability to go off line because of configuration errors. Amazon, on the other hand, is evolving into an innovation platform. I am not sure the database technologies are what makes Amazon attractive to smaller firms and specialists, but Amazon is revving the bulldozer’s engine.

Second, Microsoft and Oracle are “look back” technology providers. I think both companies share many of the adorable traits of Hewlett Packard (any flavor) and IBM. In today’s business environment, which is similar to the weather around Oklahoma City, being old is not what I interpret as a plus.

Third, the two besties have somewhat different personalities. Microsoft wants to be a do gooder. Oracle wants to fly its fighter jet over the San Jose suburbs. Microsoft wants to be the big dog in Seattle. Oracle wants to be relevant. Microsoft wants to avoid the fate of Vista. Oracle wants to keep the myth of the structured query language alive. Amazon and Google, on the other hand, just want to avoid regulation and emulate the business success of pleasant people like JP Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and a couple of other “good business men.”

To sum up, fear is tough to explain away. The exchange of fraternity rings and an appearance at the fraternity party or the high school reunion is in the future. Town & Country material I believe. Will the two parties dance each dance together at these shindigs?

Stephen E Arnold, June 6, 2019



Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta