Ellison, Benioff to hold press conference on Oracle-Salesforce.com partnership

The two tech CEOs, once bitter public rivals, will set aside their differences and discuss their pact

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff have had their share of public differences, but the jibes will likely be stowed away on Thursday, when the two conduct a press conference to discuss their companies' recently announced, nine-year technology partnership.

During the press conference, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. EDT, Ellison and Benioff will also take questions from media and analysts.

Some of those queries will likely concern why Salesforce.com and Oracle, which are competitors on many fronts, would reach such an expansive deal.

Salesforce.com, long a user of Oracle's database, will standardize on Oracle's Linux OS distribution, Java middleware and Exadata server platform. In turn, Oracle plans to integrate Salesforce.com's software with its Fusion HCM (human capital management) and cloud-based financial software, and Salesforce.com will implement those two products "throughout the company."

The pact stands in contrast to the long public rivalry between Ellison and Benioff. Ellison once called Salesforce.com's platform a "roach motel," alleging that it is difficult for customers who use it to move to other services. Benioff, in turn, has accused Oracle of promoting "false cloud" technology.

But overall, it is significant that Oracle and Salesforce.com "have apparently buried the hatchet, at least for now," analyst Frank Scavo, president of IT consulting firm Strativa, said in a blog post on Tuesday. "For their mutual customers, now and in the future, this is good news."

"Customers are not well-served by vendors sniping at each other, and the verbal tiffs between Benioff and Ellison over the past few years, frankly, have become annoying," Scavo added. "Hundreds of customers have interfaced Oracle applications with Salesforce.com's cloud apps. But until now they have done so without the explicit support of Oracle. Customers will be pleased if the two companies can cooperate in providing standard integration."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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