"It's getting our apps [such as e-commerce servers] to work in that mobile social environment," Hurd says. "It's getting our apps to engage and transact in that environment. It's a big differentiator for us."
Increasingly for Oracle, those apps are being sold via a software-as-a-service model that now generates $1 billion in annual revenue and hasn't caused the company to miss a step profit margin-wise, according to Hurd. The company has been working for six or seven years to build out its Fusion applications on a common middleware layer that enables greatly improved developer productivity and high-level integration across apps, according to Hurd.
"We now have the ability to give you SaaS out of the Oracle cloud, to build a private cloud for you and/or have you use the same applications on-premise," says Hurd, who acknowledges that budget- and innovation-challenged customers are still feeling their way through new computing models and the impact they have on everything from service-level agreements to security and performance. "We will be the only company in the industry that has a suite of capability available."
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison boasted in June that the company would deliver the world's "most comprehensive cloud," and Hurd assures that Oracle will have most of its apps available on the Oracle Cloud by year-end.
Hurd went on to say that Oracle is partnering with ISVs and others who will build on top of the Oracle Cloud through platform- and infrastructure-as-a-service offerings, and that Oracle's Exadata and Exalogic systems will be at the heart of others' cloud services. "We're more than open to partners leveraging our cloud," Hurd says.
Oracle's challenge remains distributing its technologies more widely, putting them into the hands of existing and new customers who need them. Ellison has committed to pumping about $5 billion into R&D this year, and on top of technologies obtained via acquisitions, that will only mean Oracle's portfolio will expand.
"We're building a tremendous stack of capabilities. We just have to make sure they get in front of all the buyers," Hurd says.