Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison wasn’t able to contain himself on the company’s earnings conference call Thursday afternoon. First he said that the company will announce partnerships with “the largest and most important SaaS companies and infrastructure companies in the cloud” involving Oracle’s new 12c database technology. Then he just went ahead and announced their names, including Salesforce.com and Microsoft.

Ellison promised they would be “startling series” of announcements.

Microsoft quickly released a statement confirming a news teleconference planned for Monday afternoon with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and server and cloud chief Satya Nadella, along with Oracle President Mark Hurd.

The involvement of such high-level execs in a new partnership between the companies is somewhat startling, or at least notable given their longstanding rivalry. Microsoft generally doesn’t trot Ballmer out for these types of things unless it’s a significant partnership, although it’s notable that Ellison himself isn’t among the named participants.

The implication is that Microsoft will use Oracle’s 12c in conjunction with Windows Azure in some form. That notion is “a bit ironic since Microsoft has long been a database competitor to Oracle’s database with SQL Server,” writes Rick Sherlund, an analyst for Nomura Research, who covers both companies. “This could be an important endorsement for 12c and maybe Oracle’s hardware should this be true.”

Neither company is providing more details in advance, but 12c is getting attention because it introduces the concept of multi-tenancy at the database level, making it easier and more efficient for more than one company to share the same piece of hardware.

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  • Guest

    I’d be surprised if MS is going to use 12c in some larger way themselves (though they may already run Oracle is some parts of their business, like they do Linux servers, etc). More likely they’ll be officially supporting it under Azure as an option for customers who desire it. That’s entirely consistent with Azure’s expansion beyond just supporting the MS stack. And IIRC, SQL Server has supported multi-tenancy at the database level for a while and perhaps so have others. So I’m not sure Oracle can claim to be introducing that concept. I’m not a database expert though, so can’t comment on how 12c’s features in that regard compare. Sherlund might want to take a chill pill.

  • JReuben1

    All that effort learning SQL Azure really paid off …

    • guest

      If you think this announcement will see Oracle replace SQL on Azure, then with all due respect you don’t know MS very well.

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