End of days? Oracle to announce pacts with Salesforce, NetSuite and (gasp!) Microsoft

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison

Talk about strange bedfellows. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison signaled Thursday night that his company is about to announce an alliance with Salesforce.com and Netsuite, two companies founded by former Ellison lieutenants, but also with Microsoft, one of Ellison’s traditional nemeses.

On the Oracle earnings call Thursday, Ellison dropped some pretty broad and tantalizing tips, indicating the alliance will revolve around the company’s unannounced 12C multitenant database. He also said Oracle would offer some of that multitenancy secret sauce as a separate product or service.

For exactly what he said, let’s go to the video tape, er, transcript of the fourth quarter earnings call:

“Next week, we will be announcing technology partnerships with the … largest and most important SaaS companies and infrastructure companies in the cloud, and they will be using our technology, committing to our technology for years to come. That’s how important we are doing 12c. We think 12c will be the foundation of a modern cloud where you get multi-tenant applications with a high degree of security and a high degree of efficiency, you at least have to sacrifice one for the other.”

This “startling series of announcements with companies like Saleforce.com, NetSuite, Microsoft” will come next week, he added (emphasis is mine). Reported participants will be Microsoft cloud chief Satya Nadella (fresh off his appearance at Structure 2013) and CEO Steve Ballmer as well as Oracle co-president Mark Hurd, apparently slated for a Monday event announcing the news.

Both NetSuite and Salesforce.com already run on Oracle databases and other software, so that’s a no-brainer even though they also compete with Oracle for CRM and ERP workloads. And there was notable dustup two years ago when Oracle cancelled an Oracle OpenWorld keynote by  Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff.

Microsoft’s SQL Server franchise, however, is a huge Oracle database competitor. SQL Server leads the market in terms of database units shipped. Oracle remains the market leader in databases based on revenue.

All of these companies are dealing with a growing threat from Amazon Web Services, which is siphoning away workloads that used to run on their technology. So it’s possible that Microsoft and Oracle, in particular, could forge some sort of competitive alliance. Or the two companies, both of which compete with VMware might have a sort of big data alliance to array against Pivotal, the big data spin off of EMC and VMware.

I’ve reached out to all the relevant parties for comment and will update if and when I get it.

No one from Oracle, Microsoft or Salesforce.com would comment.

This story was updated at 6:55 p.m. PDT with comments (or non comments) from the companies.

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