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[dupe] Warren Buffett Joins the Crowd Struggling to Understand Oracle (bloomberg.com)
99 points by partingshots 17 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 100 comments



Related discussion from four days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19289583


I've worked with a public company whose stack is Oracle services. Pretty much every company on that field is Oracle as well, that explains (to me) much of how is Oracle's customer base: this field has been under Oracle & Java database->bus->services->cms since forever, why would one company start and not hire them to have access to the same features, be able to grap a few engineers, and skip "reiventing the wheel"?

What this company (and every other in that field) is doing: moving small, microservice-able tasks to AWS. Scale and costs are way cheaper. But it's a very long-term move: a couple of years pass and bam!, here's another Oracle multi-million extension contract they must pay to continue to have the lights on. But to the executive's perspective, this is just the cost of doing business in that field, it's the same for the competition. You could argue this is the same "no one ever got fired for hiring Microsoft/IBM" mentality.

Oracle stack is obsolete, but as a business they aren't, simply because it will still take a very long time until most companies reliant of their stack be able to move out without great risk to core business.


Oracle blew a great opportunity. Internal CRUD apps developed by Oracle Forms worked pretty well, were quick to make, had a well-fitting CRUD-centric programming API, and did the job. Even though they were ugly and visually out of style, they made CRUD easy. Our Forms developers were about 4x more productive than our MVC devs. The MVC devs can put all kinds of fancy-dancy JavaScript widgets on pages that dazzle users, but they are always breaking.

But then Oracle moved their Forms client to Java, creating all kinds of versioning headaches and security risks. They should have stuck with the dedicated stand-alone EXE Forms client: a kind of GUI browser. It was a very practical tool for in-house and specialty apps, but Oracle ruined it with Java.


As a former Oracle employee, it's easy to see Oracle's shitty business model--

"Extort everyone for obscene license fees because we currently can, and force them to buy cloud credits they'll never use because Amazon."


I hate tech companies that turn into law firms. Many companies (Oracle, Qualcomm, etc.) have chosen this path and I avoid all of them like the plague if I can. I'm hoping we as a society can ensure this is a ruinous path for said companies, but it seems like my two aforementioned examples are still going strong in terms of their market stranglehold/extortion/rent-seeking practices.


Oracle consultant here.

There's nothing more disheartening then digging into an issue on a new site and realizing someone checked (or didn't uncheck) a box during install years ago and the system is not complying with its licensing.

The licence fees for small features you might not even know your using can be pretty brutal.


Reminds of those "free" software install dialogs that did everything they could to trick you into installing extra spam-ware using double negatives: "Do you not want to skip installing the Great Deals browser tool-bar?"

Microsoft got into similar hot water tricking people into installing Windows 10 via confusing dialog boxes.


I won't not never uncheck a box that isn't unlike that one.


I think what you were meaning to say is that you won't never not uncheck said boxes.


Why not have licenses as code / configuration? this would probably be safer for all parties. Unless, of course, companies like Oracle want the user make these tiny but espensive mistakes?


Well, the quote by Warren Buffet is IMHO great:

>“Larry Ellison has done a fantastic job with Oracle,’’ Buffett said Monday in a CNBC interview. “I’ve followed from the standpoint of reading about it, but I felt like I didn’t understand the business. Particularly after my experience with IBM, I don’t think I understand exactly where the cloud is going.’’


When Buffet thinks "this is BS, I won't touch it", he says politely "I don't understand". He's been repeating it for 40 years.

He doesn't want to fight. He doesn't care about being right in the eyes of others.

I stole this line 10 years ago to decline the invitation "oh, you are a programmer, can you take a look at my computer ?". I don't understand Windows so I can't, because I use Linux. Declaring yourself incompetent is a fantastic social cheat code.


I think he's more honest than that. I think "I don't understand" means "I don't understand". But it looks like "I won't touch it" because he won't touch it if he doesn't understand.

One of the things Buffet (and Munger) do very consciously is their "circle of competence". They know what they're good at. They do that. They know they're not good at other things, so they don't do them. So I think Buffet is saying that he genuinely doesn't know how to evaluate Oracle, and therefore he's out.


“I don’t understand” also carries extra weight when the first half of your nickname is “The Oracle”.


That's the thing though. It only works in your favor if your popularity is not low in a group. Like a joke, people will laught depending on the delivery as well as the person delivering.


Well he is smart to know to maintain his high success rate by admitting when he doesn't understand something and knowing to avoid things he doesn't understand. Awareness of ignorance is wisdom.


I do even one better to get out of doing IT work. If someone random asks me to do computer maintenance I profess my incompetence but say that I’ll give it a try. I just go into settings and make the problem one epsilon worse. Then I give it back and say “ugh I don’t know what I did, I just [disabled the network adapter] but now it won’t even open the WiFi menu.” Gives them enough information to reverse what I did but makes sure they never ask me again.


Feigning ignorance seems reasonable, but saying you'll try to help and then making it worse is an asshole move


I do feign ignorance. Sometimes they don’t take that for an answer and ask me to try. Instead of telling them to fuck off, or fixing the problem so they come back next week, I make them mildly regret pushing me when I said I didn’t know.


Still an asshole passive-aggressive move, for a few years now I just learned to say "I'm sorry, I can't take a look" in an assertive but friendly tone, no one pushed it further and I don't have to be acting all bitchy because I didn't stand up for myself.

I recommend this approach much more.


seems pretty malicious

why not just ask them to pay you for your time, or else say sorry you need to hire a professional instead of giving them more grief


Last week my mother called me after she broke down on the side of the road. So I popped her hood, broke her timing belt, then sped off.

Have to agree with you, seems fairly pointless to kick someone while they’re down. Computer problems are stressful, so it’s not surprising someone would ask the first person they know is remotely involved with computing for help. It’s very easy just to tell someone a few things that they might try googling.


>It’s very easy just to tell someone a few things that they might try googling.

That seems to frequently be perceived as an insult though.

For some reason, everyone thinks that "computer people" can be counted on to solve their Windows PC problems for free, though they wouldn't ask their relative who's a car salesman to fix their car.


Setting boundaries and knowing when to bend them a bit is a skill everyone needs to have. So is understanding and respecting others' boundaries.


It's a good skill, yes, but you can't expect everyone to be good at it (just like anything), and I think it's a lot worse when you're dealing with family members.

I don't have an actual solution here, I'm just pointing out that this seems to be a common problem.


Yeah, I’m going to tell someone at work they should pay me or Google it. I didn’t do this with my mom or similar.


This is when those things aren’t working or politically infeasible at work


>why not just ask them to pay you for your time

Because if you "charge" them and get paid for the work then everything else that seems wrong from that point forward they blame you for and expect you to fix it [often for free] because in their mind a) you caused it and b) they paid you to fix their computer.

>or else say sorry you need to hire a professional instead of giving them more grief

This is the best response but I think he said they get pushy and insist he do something. The person is going to be pissy at him for telling them off nicely or not.


I'm up voting because I want to make sure plenty of HNers have the opportunity to tell you you're being a jerk when you do this.


Lol, if it makes them feel good then why deny them the pleasure


> he says politely "I don't understand". He's been repeating it for 40 years.

What this actually translate to is very simple:

"I can't get an edge that I am used to getting information wise from this company so I am pulling my investment".

Now of course that could be because there isn't good info that they are willing or able to give him, or simply they will not play that game with him for some reason.

Honestly he just doesn't like being in the same boat as ordinary people who invest. Or for that matter ordinary analysts or other high level investors. In order to be successful he has to go to the head of the line in some way. You have to have the tea leaves to read the tea leaves.


You make it sound a little negative, but really, shouldn't that be how everyone who picks individual stocks should act unless they're happy being more on the gambling side instead of the investing side of things?

If the only info you can get is fully public info, the market should have accounted for it already, and in that case, you might as well take your money and but it somewhere more useful. And if you're fine with just riding the market, why risk an individual stock when you can use an index fund?


Except 'everyone' is not Warren Buffet and that is my point. He is able to hold meetings and interpret signals that the regular public simply can't do. He has access to go anwhere and see anything. Even if what he sees is 'public' it is still very helpful in determining whether an investment makes sense. He can feel the tempo and he can sense things (or the people he dispatches same point if they have access).

I will give a very small example to illustrate my point. Years ago I was looking at buying a small business. I was there for about 2 hours. I noticed that the phone did not ring one time in the 2 hours. Let's assume for the sake of the story that the phone ringing was not super indicative of anything (with this business I mean it wasn't a Pizza takeout place) but somewhat meaningful. They didn't have to reveal anything secret at all for me to take that info into consideration.

The problem with an index fund is that since it isn't a gamble you will never win big!


That idea really doesn't square with the initial investment made. What changed QoQ?


He's been super interested in the future of "the cloud" for some time now[1].

He is also a voracious reader. Most likely after he purchased his shares he continued reading and thinking about the state of things and where they are headed. He read something that made him question his investment thesis and re-think things that he was previously confident in.

Most people, if they continue reading or thinking at all, will just look for things that confirm their previous decision. It's a good lesson to look for things that disprove what you think you know.

[1] I think he likes the cloud because as opposed to most tech, there are tangible assets involved and significant capital outlays. Combined with the nature of platform lock-in, this keeps out newcomers.


> He is also a voracious reader. Most likely after he purchased his shares he continued reading and thinking about the state of things and where they are headed. He read something that made him question his investment thesis and re-think things that he was previously confident in.

If that is the case then I take my hat off to him. I was also wondering why he would be pulling out of something he'd gone in the previous quarter.


Is this speculation or is there a source for his thinking behind this? It's very unlike a good portion of his investments.


From reading his shareholder letters, watching a boatload of his talks and interviews on YouTube, and most importantly trying to re-create his thinking on most of his investments, from his early partnership days up until about IBM. (he is actually quite open about what he likes in a company, even though people think he's being cryptic)

For example, he always cites figures such as return on _tangible_ assets in his interviews.

He is also obsessed with moats. A large reason for the relative lack of moats in tech is that the barrier to entry is low, and has been dropping for decades. You could whip up a respectable competitor (technology-wise) to most of today's unicorns in well under a year or so with only a little bit of money, but given many years and billions of dollars you couldn't re-create Coca-Cola's distribution network.

I am actually curious how you think this is not like his other investments? His investment style has changed for sure, but I would draw two lines, one that he talks about around See's Candy in the 70's. The other I would put about 10-15 years ago, where he started looking at more capital-intensive businesses (like BNSF). Both were gradual shifts, though.


Not talking about the specific investment; just the duration of it.


Haha, sorry. I mis-read your question and went waaaay too involved. :)

As a Buffett-head, I can't immediately think of another time when he has turned around on a stock so fast. (not counting partnership days, where he would flip stocks pretty relatively quickly, but only after their full value was realized)


oh, fantastic! I'm stealing your line


“Never invest in a business you cannot understand.”


Buffet used to be very averse to investing in technology companies because of that very reason. He has evidently educated himself since he is very heavy into both IBM and Apple, less so into Red Hat and Sirius. His investment into Oracle and subsequent dumping is very unique in the annals of BH since his other tenet has always been to buy something and then hold on to it. To sell such a large investment so quickly screams that he found something he was very uncomfortable with in Oracle.


Buffett is a numbers guy: he likes to see the numbers coming in and numbers going out. He follows the insurance market closely because insurance is about probabilities: numbers. Technology is more about standards, integration, trade-off balancing, and dealing with change; things that are hard to put numbers on.

His firm got burned by IBM, so he's extra jittery dealing with "big tech" now. IBM created this program to better track and maximize revenue by cranking up revenue incentives for middle managers. It looked good on paper: fine-tune the reporting of and increase incentives. But their customers began to feel squeezed and milked. You can often gain short-term revenue by skimping on customer service, and eventually customers revolted, damaging IBM's cred.


marketing, naming, bundling, network effects, sla's. theres a lot more to tech than tech.


or "never invest in a business you consider bs"


Which ones are not BS? Something tells me a fully honest company would not survive, just like honest politicians don't survive.


There's minimal need to understand their $40 billion in sales. Do they have growth or not, and what is the quality of the growth in producing profit. It's that simple ultimately.

Sales 2014: $38.2 billion; sales 2018: $39.8 billion

No growth beyond inflation. Net income hasn't climbed (roughly stuck at $9-$10 billion for the last five years). Annual debt interest costs have more than doubled to $2 billion as they've made a mess of their balance sheet.

In two years AWS will be as large as their entire business.

In the five years Oracle has seen zero growth, Salesforce has gone from $4b to $10.5b in sales. It's likely that over the next five years Oracle will again see near zero growth and Salesforce will double in size.

Here's what a successful cloud transition with growth actually looks like:

Adobe's business was stagnant for years. Then.... Sales 2014: $4.1b; 2015: $4.8b; 2016: $5.8b; 2017: $7.3b; 2018: $9b.

Their profit skyrocketed from $268m in 2014, to $2.6b for 2018. They earned as much last quarter as they did for all of 2015. The stock has gone from $60 to $250 / share.

You can tell exactly how well Oracle's cloud transition is going by the fact that everybody around them is eating their lunch and seeing growth, from AWS, to Microsoft, to Salesforce, to dozens of other enterprise software companies. Microsoft had watched its top line stagnate for several years as they struggled to find new growth. And then suddenly a big jump: $96b in sales, to $110b in sales, over the prior year. Another example of cloud transition growth in action.


While your post is informative and I agree with it I can't see an argument that showcases why Oracle would not have the same exact jumpin the next few years like Microsoft and Adobe had.


Yeah, idk. I used to work at Oracle and from what I could discern (as a pretty low-level employee) Thomas Kurian was largely responsible for spearheading the cloud efforts on the technical side of things. He's since left the company.

I worked with great people at Oracle but I disliked working there immensely. Compared to a lot of other big-name tech companies, their approach to managing employees and their approach to innovation is extremely outdated and somewhat draconian (in certain arenas). Furthermore, I got the sense that any customers we had were largely the result of good salesmanship and unforgiving lock-in. I'm sure it's probably not like this on every team at Oracle, but that was my experience. It was also incredibly clear from the scarce (once a year? if that?) corporate wide pow-wows and communications from above that the company's top executives not only don't understand their employees but also quite clearly don't care about them, their advancement, or happiness. Hell, Oracle was just starting to bring macs into the workplace in the name of appeasing employees and improving employee-executive relations when I left in early 2018.


That's pretty easy. If Oracles numbers for cloud were awesome they'd certain disclose that. Since the don't we can safely assume they're struggling and want to hide it.


Yeah, I've been scratching my head, too. Oracle's P/E ratio implies the expectation of great growth, but to me Oracle looks kind of floundering with competition from F/OSS databases and all the failed acquisitions / new lines of business such as "cloud".

I would short Oracle if the overvaluation wasn't so old and stable. Hard to guess if or when it will end.


> Oracle's P/E ratio implies the expectation of great growth, but to me Oracle looks kind of floundering with competition from F/OSS databases and all the failed acquisitions / new lines of business such as "cloud".

Umm, ORCL's PE is currently 18.7 and the average PE of the S&P 500 is currently around 21 so your statement about a PE that is pricing in "great growth" is dubious at best:). The average S&P 500 PE ratio is also above 18 if you start at a reasonable date of say 1980..

http://www.multpl.com/


Yeah, looks like I misremembered the degree of overvaluation. That said, you have to compare it to valuations of dividend stocks (~15 - Apple, uh... OK, difficult. McD's, Procter & Gamble 25?!, Ford 10...) and growth stocks (~25 - Google, Microsoft, Facebook). Oracle is more of a shrinkage stock IMO...


Are you really looking at their acquisitions? They own an SD-WAN company, NetSuite, a massive construction software business (Textura, Aconex, etc), a pretty massive marketing cloud to compete with Adobe and Salesforce.

I think people who are calling Oracle just a database company are really underselling how much value they sell above the database abstraction, they are much closer to Microsoft and AWS (and SAP, Adobe, Autodesk) than people think. They own and sell a ton of cloud "services" that arent "database" but instead specific tasks.

Their "divisions" are Servers, Storage, and Networking; Middleware; Industry Solutions including Communications and Media, Construction and Engineering, Health Sciences, Hospitality and Retail, Utilities; and Applications. They tend to focus on more specific purpose software, compared to Microsoft and Adobe more general purpose software for all industries.


It doesn't matter how many things they do if they do them all badly, and can't figure out a coherent strategy. See also IBM.


They dont necessarily need an overall strategy between some of these units. What is the chance a Talari and Aconex integration is useful? They act more like a holding company or vc, who owns a bunch of individual businesses. Nobody criticizes Berkshire Hathaway for not integrating its different businesses together.


F/OSS dbs AND hosted versions of those. It used to be that if you wanted to mitigate career risk, you buy Oracle so if the DB has issues, you bought the best. If Mysql fails, you were cheap. Now you can play the AWS card. If Aurora fails, you picked a hosted DB from a known vendor.

And adding to your point, F/OSS DBs have gotten really good, and they're commoditized.


The head scratcher is no one likes being an Oracle customer. I've never met one.


Believe it or not, I have. They're usually all-in, and they basically outsource their tech stack to Oracle pretty much completely, rather than trying to build an in-house team on open-source stuff, which has a lot of other kinds of risk baked in. Since the culture is sales oriented rather than tech oriented, they can concentrate on their main mission.


If your company has very little software capabilities it can be good to have an out of the box solution from Oracle. Clothing brands, heavy equipment dealers, etc.


Most large companies are Oracle customers, especially now that Oracle also owns NetSuite. Oracle is known as a DB company to the tech world, but to everyone else it's known for its ERP software (i.e., corporate financial systems software).


Oracle primarily targets large enterprise customers outside of tech. E.g. the US government and banks.


They apparently like it better than being a IBM DB2 customer or a Microsoft SQL Server customer or a Sybase customer or a Teradata customer or a ...[I think you get my point].

Oracle is good at extracting the maximum profit from their sales. They're aggressive about sales and policing usage and they don't often cut customers slack. They've learned that clients will try to give them the shaft and they do their best to not get shafted. They're good capitalists as well as the best database developers in the world.


We run all of those and Oracle is the one we just thankfully retired. It is also very telling that people are moving from Teradata and Oracle to Sailfish.


>Oracle is good at extracting the maximum profit from their sales. They're aggressive about sales and policing usage and they don't often cut customers slack.

Sounds like a horrible company to work with. Most of the people I know that use Oracle services/products due so because they are stuck with them


Most of the people you know that use Oracle would likely quit if their CFO or CIO came in and told them to migrate away from Oracle. Oracle's stuff works and works right. Furthermore, expertise on Oracle tools is well-compensated and consequently it is common for Oracle expertise to leave for higher-paid jobs (also using Oracle) should a firm cease to use Oracle.

My point is that, despite a proliferation of free and open software, companies still often _pay_ for good software that works correctly. And Oracle extracts their pound of flesh w/o taking a single drop of blood. Oracle's is a very strong business model that is no accident and results largely from having no peers.


Wow.

Today I learned that "capitalist" means "treating the customer as the enemy" and "legitimized exploitation".

Honestly curious - have you absorbed these attitudes from an MBA program, or did you develop them more organically?


I did not say that but I've said this before and it is well worth repeating:

*“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

- Adam Smith, "The Wealth of Nations"

This is almost a definitive description of capitalism both by its origin and by its very nature.


Realistically, a lot of "tech giant" business models are somewhat weird.

Google is a search engine + search engine monetisation engine. They have some third parties participating in the ad market (notably other search engines) and some non-search properties (eg YouTube) that contribute some as revenue but search+AdWords is still the core.

Meanwhile, most of the notable things google do are in unrelated or marginally related to the business model. Android, chrome, self driving cars...

It's as if most of the company has nothing to do with the business. They used to explain this with a VC metaphor, but that seems to be gone.

FB & twitter are even stranger. Why do they have 100X more employees and costs than they had a few years ago, while not apparently outputting much more than they were outputting before. They're still "just" social media sites. With all due respect to ad-tech and content ranking algorithms...

The common denominator is a revenue stream that comes from dominating a niche and very little relationship between what the company invests in and how it makes money. They didn't/couldn't have actually directed themselves towards those things as goals.

Oracle is similar. They're deeply embedded in their customer's businesses. That means a captive market. This generates a revenue stream. There's no predictable way of turning that revenue into a cloud service, no matter how much they're willing to spend.

Ultimately, the problem is that the market as a whole is overfunded. Investors don't want dividends, so they get highly speculative/dubious investments instead.


Alphabet (and not Google) is actually trying to be like berkshire hathaway - conglomerate holding company (at least according to Eric Schmidt)


I'd argue against some of this with relation to google. All their products are positioned to inhale data and spit relevant advertisements back out.

Chrome, Andriod, Cars, DNS. They all help collect data about a person to better train their core business model which is advertising.


As a US citizen I do not want a single cent of tax dollars going to Larry. It's infuriating the US government is Oracle's biggest customer.


Same with IBM. I just read the Canadian prime minister praising the work done on a new payroll system, so I decided to look it up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_pay_system

> In June 2011, IBM won the contract to set up the system, using PeopleSoft software; the original contract was for $5.7 million, but IBM was eventually paid $185 million.

...that's 32x the original price.

Everyone in software knows exactly how IBM and Oracle make their money. That part's not a mystery. The bigger mystery to me is why these governments and big companies keep spending money on these professional leeches and expecting a different result.

Do other gov contractors charge 32x the original budget? Do construction, or ad companies, or accountants? Or is it just software?


Defense contractors, construction occasionally. It's pretty nuts. The east span of the bay bridge was something like 5x the original cost estimate. I think some of this ends up being because of the same reasons that home general contractors end up charging far more than the estimate: modifications cost extra. "Oh you wanted this feature? It wasn't in the contract, we can do it but that'll be $X. Oh you need to include this other system? That's out of scope but for $Y we can solve it." Million here, a million there and pretty soon you're talking real money ;)

https://www.wnyc.org/story/316201-brief-history-64-billion-b...


There are too many factors to account for before blaming someone for laying 32x the original budget.

1. Were there scope changes throughout the process? This is quite common and costs firms and govs a lot of money yearly.

2. Did the Gov know everything they need at beginning?

3. Are there other services or businesses with the amount of experience this one has?

4. Are there continuous services that will cost you monthly/yearly? Did you decide to increase the number of users in that platform?

5. Were there unexpected support or training needed?

6. Would it be political suicide to put the whole price at the beginning?

All these things add up and you can only hope that your gov and big companies take into account before entering this endeavor


Without a doubt IBM got paid more because they did a lot more work than originally purchased. These sorts of big IT deployment disasters always have complex causes and often are caused by the customers. But that's one reason why not many firms are both big enough and willing to take them on ... hence why IBM seems to be rewarded for failure.


There was an article on HN yesterday that quoted about the SF Bay tunnel where the original bid was a fraction of the final cost and the legislators basically said, people wouldn't vote for it if they knew the 'real' cost. Of course schedule slips and overtime are abused.


Where is the mystery? The answer is completely obvious.

And what makes you think that "these governments ... expect a different result"? Isn't is possible that the governments expect (and welcome) exactly this result?


I remember when Oracle bought Sun and the OpenSolaris guys didn't quite fit in.

"don't make the mistake of anthropomorphising Larry Ellison" - Bryan Cantrell

skip to 38:20 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zRN7XLCRhc


Just yesterday I came across one of his other videos, and I guess Bryan Cantrill still as a bit of grudge against Oracle:

Light ranting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm8P4oCIY3g&t=10m10s

A bit heavier ranting (with the fallout after his usenix ranting): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm8P4oCIY3g&t=14m21s

Selected quote: "Any explanation of Oracle that doesn't end with a nazi allegory does not fully explain Oracle"

Bryan Cantrill is really fun to listen to, is a tech veteran now, and is still as passionate and energetic as he was the first day (Another interesting video about programming languages he experienced during his (long by tech standards) career: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjFM8vw3pbU)


>[interviwer] What two industries are the first you should learn when developing your circle of competence?

>[Buffett] Look for simple businesses. If I gave you $10M to invest right now and you only had three weeks to spend it and you could only spend it in Omaha, you’d look for simple, understandable, strong businesses. You look at the Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM). You wouldn’t look at the third best fast food chain. You might look at McDonald’s, because it is number one and will probably always been number one. They have share of mind. What about Oracle? Too hard. GM? Too hard. You can’t predict the future for these two companies. Too many variables.

That was 2009. Looks like he's decided that was still the case.

Also going by the top comment in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19289583 three days ago:

... "I probably met nearly 100 developers, and when I asked all of them what they use Oracle for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM openly told me that their companies use Oracle right now but they hate it and they were all in the process of transitioning to other providers or open source solutions."...

I'd guess shorting Oracle might be more the thing to do. Typically customer reaction proceeds the financial numbers moving.


In this day and age if I owned a company, and some Director or VP suggested using anything from Oracle or HP, I would assume they were getting some kind of fringe benefit from the sales person and fire them immediately.


Warren Buffet doesn't understand that you shouldn't anthropomorphize the lawnmower.

https://youtu.be/-zRN7XLCRhc?t=1983



good roast.


MongoDB would be a great acquisition target for Oracle. Their recent acquisition of mLab along with their Atlas offering could create a nice headline to help boost the perception that Oracle is actively moving its database business to the cloud.

Mongo trades at a premium, but its market cap is in the single-digit billions & is nothing Oracle couldn't afford right now. Plus, Oracle's massive legal machine could move the licensing innovation needle even further in the direction of Mongo's recent move to SSPL.

Disclaimer: I work for Salesforce


> Plus, Oracle's massive legal machine could move the licensing innovation needle even further in the direction of Mongo's recent move to SSPL.

Proprietary licensing that has a veneer of openness isn't a legal innovation issue, it's a PR innovation issue (how to get the goodwill and community support that comes with open source while using proprietary licensing that doesn't provide the freedom of open source.) Oracle doesn't have any particular special PR competence when it comes to targeting the audience for whom open source is a big draw, and seems quite happy locking anything that they don't want to share with the community behind traditional proprietary licensing, so I wouldn't see the SSPL game and Oracle having a lot to offer each other. SSPL is for people who want to be like Oracle but pretend they aren't, and even if Oracle cared about the pretense, there's not a lot of indication that the SSPL approach works.


Seems pretty obvious — Oracle isn’t disclosing specific cloud data in their financials because the data would be embarrassing.


Have you read his shareholder letters? To be fair, Buffett doesn't understand anything cloud or computer related.


Often used Buffet quotes: "If you don't know jewelry, know your jeweler". I suspect that Larry Ellison is factor in the decision to drop Oracle.


I could help explain it for him.

Take something like RAC.

Call it "Cloud On-premises."

Viola! Cloud sales are up.


The SEC dogs Elon Musk but doesn't dare lock horns with Larry Ellison, the pathological corporate sociopath whose company locks users into seemingly never ending software leases with threatened audits and whose corp has teams of lawyers and only offers "limited breakdowns in its financial disclosures" . . .

Larry recently bragged how even Amazon is under his cloak using Oracle because there is nothing out there better. Bezos response: We'll build our own database no matter what the cost and then we'll compete against you signing up what were your customers. How do you like that Larry ?


None of the Oracle behaviors you’re describing are the responsibility of the SEC.


Amazon has developed Aurora and DynamoDB.

And they are free to use any of the open source ones.

Your narrative makes little sense.


Ellison claims (https://www.zdnet.com/article/amazons-consumer-business-move...) Aurora is Oracle's because it's MySQL based:

> So this is another claim I'm going to make, Aurora, not built by Amazon, built by us, called MySQL. Amazon just gave it a new name. It's also true of Redshift. Amazon didn't build Redshift, that's not what they do. These are -- they just open-sourced pieces where they built -- that they used to build their cloud. They did a great job. They did a great job of making those pieces available in a coherent -- deliver them in a coherent cloud. I give them a lot of credit. But they don't build databases. Amazon still runs all of their -- all of Amazon on Oracle Database. They are trying, they promised because they don't like me reminding them of that publicly. They said they're trying to get off Oracle by 2020.

> Aurora is our other database. It's our low-end database. It's our database. It's not theirs. Well, it's open source. Anyone can use it for nothing.

(This is bullshit, of course.)


Oh the irony that Larry Ellison is a big Musk supporter and is on Tesla’s board.


I understand how existing legacy companies would use Oracle db but are any new companies out there adopting oracle software? Is there some wave of startups that pretend it is 1980 buying licenses for database tech?


Did Bezos really say something like this?


I don't think so. But Andy Jassy has not been quiet in his criticism of their model.

AWS Aurora wasn't built out of spite, however. It was/is designed to be a cloud-native database from the start because there was a perceived desire for the product. As it's AWS's fastest growing service, the team deduced correctly.

Disclaimer: I work for AWS.




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