Software companies should write software, not cheques, proclaimed Larry Ellison, speaking at Gartner Group?s annual US Symposium in Florida today.
The Oracle chief executive told thousands of attendees that it was the beginning of the end for software suppliers when they started buying in major functionality to try and integrate it with existing products rather than developing it themselves.
"It?s the one thing Bill Gates and I are in absolute agreement on, that software companies have to develop their own software, not try to acquire it," he said.
As a result, he criticised the acquisition strategy of rival Sybase, which, he claimed, was buying a number of companies with different software that did not fit together. Informix?s takeover of Illustra fitted into a similar mould, he said.
But Oracle?s recent purchase of call centre software company, Versatility, was different, Ellison claimed, because the database supplier was acquiring one small piece of technology rather than the whole company.
Oracle could have bought computer telephony integration and call centre software vendor, Vantive, instead, he attested, but did not because Vantive?s applications, "do not really integrate very well on Oracle systems."
However, when asked by analysts what he would do if he were Mitch Kertzman, Sybase?s chairman, Ellison said he would propose drastic action.
"If I was Mitch Kertzman, I would tender my resignation immediately and look for a hot startup," he quipped, while adding that he was not criticising his rival: "I like him - we would offer him a job straight away."
But he was not quite so amused when needled by analysts over his new position on thin client computing. Instead he retorted that the network computing architecture was not dead and Oracle had simply changed its name.
"I blame myself entirely. The network computer was really our name for the Internet and you shouldn?t try to rename something like the Internet," he said.
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