Yet Larry's logic defies explanation sometimes.
The latest example comes from last night's earnings call. After presenting a fine first quarter with 12% year-over-year revenue growth and 14% higher non-GAAP earnings per share, Ellison fielded questions with analysts. One of them pressed the issue of Big Data tools such as the Hadoop data-handling system that Yahoo!
Hadoop is free software under the auspices of the Apache Foundation, but billion-dollar businesses have also grown up around mangling enormous data sets. Teradata
But Larry doesn't see it that way at all. In fact, he assured us that Big Data actually represents a growth opportunity for Oracle.
"Hadoop [along with other Big Data tools] is going to be one of the feeder systems to the Oracle Database," he said. "We have announced interfaces that allow you to take your Hadoop systems and connect them to Oracle systems so you can load your Hadoop data into Oracle. So we think it's going to increase the usage of Oracle."
In my eyes, that usage example would make Oracle a secondary part of the data-handling tool chain -- an easily replaced link that must play second fiddle to Hadoop, or Teradata, or Tibco, or whatever software is doing the heavy lifting. If the formerly so central database system is relegated to simply presenting the findings from other tools, what's stopping data-heavy customers from downgrading that expensive Oracle Enterprise license to Oracle's cheaper MySQL package, to IBM's
If Big Data is good for Oracle without Ellison diving deeper into the software stack, I don't see it.
If you didn't check out that free report yet, I suggest you do so right now. Big Data is a very big deal, and Oracle seems to misunderstand its place in the food chain.
Fool contributor Anders Bylundholds no position in any of the companies discussed here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Oracle, Yahoo, Qlik Technologies, and IBM. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Yahoo!, Tibco Software, Qlik, salesforce.com, and Teradata and shorting salesforce.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio, follow him on Twitter or Google+, or peruse our Foolish disclosure policy.