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Ellison Swears Off Big Acquisitions

Oracle, which has about $32 billion in the bank, has turned all its software into SaaS products

Larry Ellison, who spent $50 billion more or less on acquisitions in the last 10 years, is swearing off making any big acquisitions to add to Oracle for a couple of years to focus instead on growing the company organically in an attempt to dominate the cloud, a technology he used to call "complete gibberish" and a "fad."

Of course Larry can resist anything but temptation and didn't rule out a big deal "down the road," when he spoke to CNBC's Maria Bartiromo in his first interview in years. But he's especially not going to buy NetApp, the storage concern rumored to be a target. It would cost a lot of money and doesn't fit Oracle's current strategy.

"We have all the assets in-house to grow very rapidly on an organic basis," he said.

Oracle, which has about $32 billion in the bank, has turned all its software into SaaS products, and Ellison expects thousands of customers to be using Oracle's cloud-based Fusion business software suite next year, up from around 400 now, two-thirds of them currently on Oracle's public cloud, the other third on dedicated machines on-prem.

And he'll have a cloud-ified database available in a few months and practically everybody, darling, uses an Oracle database.

The company is setting itself up as a one-stop shop for cloud computing, Nucleus Research says. That includes apps, the platform and the infrastructure - the engineered systems from its Sun acquisition that Oracle is turning into the underpinnings of an Amazon-like public and private IaaS cloud.

"Salesforce.com, it runs in one place on the planet earth, on the Salesforce public cloud. That's it. You can't move that in-house, you can't move that into a private cloud behind your firewall," Larry said. "We think it's very important to give customers choice." With Oracle, customers don't have to integrate; it's already done.

Ironically Ellison backed Salesforce when his one-time lieutenant Marc Benioff started it and Oracle has underperformed its foundling. Ellison also owns a big chunk of NetSuite.

Don't expect any big dividend boost from Oracle. Any rise will be incremental.

Maria couldn't draw Larry on whether a successor has been picked although Mark Hurd seems an obvious choice. Ellison, who's been running the company for 35 years, told her there were "a lot of people" who could take his place although, like his friend Steve Jobs, he seems pretty irreplaceable.

He turned 68 in August and, frankly, he looks great.

He said he was going to turn the Hawaiian island of Lanai he just bought into a lab for environmentally better ways to live. He's thinking desalinization, electric cars and more fruit exports to Japan and other places. His holdings include two resorts, two golf courses and assorted commercial and residential buildings. He also controls three utilities on the island.

There's a video at www.cnbc.com/id/49257653.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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