June 6, 2012 – Oracle CEO Larry Ellison introduced 100 applications in the cloud and its database Platform as a Service – along with a few digs at the competition – during a presentation Wednesday that served as the culmination of a seven year “forced march” toward cloud offering development.

Ellison said the suite of enterprise sales, personnel management and collaboration offerings and the Oracle-backed database PaaS are an extension of its Fusion campaign, the somewhat maligned but wide-reaching development and acquisition push toward “being an on-premise software provider and a cloud provider.” The effort to this point has involved “thousands” of developers and $5 billion in annual R&D, not to mention billions spent on acquisitions big and small, Ellison stated.

“I just look at how long it took us … and this was as difficult a thing as we’ve ever done at Oracle,” he said.

Peppered with knocks at SAP, Salesforce.com and Workday, Ellison introduced some of the social and collaborative elements available for developers and end users in the suite of applications in the cloud. Those applications are all built on HTML5 and for mobile user interfaces, and with enablement through Oracle’s social networks as well as Facebook and Twitter. The applications are also based on the Oracle Database in the cloud, the architecture of which Ellison says does not “co-mingle” customer data with others and instead enables applications on virtual machines.

At one point during the presentation, Ellison went through the process an online organic farm might take to introduce a marketing campaign and Facebook sales portal as a means to show some of the range of applications.

“We are not trying to be a niche provider of one two or three applications in the cloud,” Ellison said.

The Oracle cloud also allows customers to pick when they upgrade their cloud “within reason,” offering about a one year window to be within one step of the most up-to-date version of the offering, Ellison said.

Twitter chatter during the event followed a gamut of responses to positive to critical. There was some question of how much of the rollout Wednesday was new, and Constellation Research’s CEO Ray Wang noted the lack of direct reference to the cloud by Oracle upon its early Fusion announcements and indicated that Ellison may be taking up a bit of “revisionist” history on the extent of its efforts.

Ellison’s speech was followed by Oracle President Mark Hurd, who focused on the rollout of new services, Oracle Platinum Services, for Exadata, Exalogic, SPARC SuperCluster and the Oracle Cloud. At no additional charge, those cloud services tout disaster responses within minutes, followed by direct technical development support “right from the people who built it” in response to any additional downtime, Hurd said. During a Q&A session at the end of the presentation, Ellison said that fault tolerance settings and Oracle monitoring should indicate any cloud problems "before the customer knows."

Along with in-house development touched on during the presentation, Ellison highlighted deals in the last year for talent management provider Taleo and customer experience vendor RightNow. Oracle has made two other recent moves in the SaaS marketing space, acquiring analytics mining vendor Collective Intellect on Monday and social marketing platform provider Vitrue on May 24.

The cloud talk has been at the forefront at Oracle in recent months. In early April, Hurd used a keynote at a conference in Japan to emphasize Oracle’s commitment to the cloud in relation to big data and analytics, and Ellison emphasized the importance of the Oracle Public Cloud in its overall business plans during Oracle OpenWorld in October.

For a recap of the cloud and application announcements from Oracle, click here.

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