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October 24, 2011updated 19 Aug 2016 9:28am

Oracle ups Salesforce.com fight now, with RightNow

Gets more aggressive in its competition with former love child

By Jason Stamper Blog

Oracle buys RightNow

RightNow CEO Greg Gianforte

Oracle has announced it’s buying cloud customer service purveyor RightNow for $1.5 billion, in a move designed to put the heeby-jeebies up rival Salesforce.com.

Anyone in any doubt about Oracle’s attitude to the ‘war’ with Salesforce.com might want to take note of the message on RightNow’s homepage this afternoon, which describes the move as "aggressive".

"Oracle is moving aggressively to offer customers a full range of Cloud Solutions including sales force automation, human resources, talent management, social networking, databases and Java as part of the Oracle Public Cloud," the statement reads. "Together, Oracle and RightNow can enable a superior customer experience at every contact and across every channel."

The rivalry between Oracle and Salesforce.com is now accepted wisdom. An early investor in Salesforce.com, Oracle chief Larry Ellison is no longer as-close-as-this with Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. Indeed Benioff told CBR a while back that he was particularly proud of the fact that he is the only person to have ever sacked Ellison, removing him from Salesforce.com’s board of directors when it became clear competition would create a conflict of interests.

Ellison responded initially with jibes and snubs of public cloud in general and Benioff in particular: at its most recent OpenWorld conference Oracle cancelled Benioff’s keynote at short notice. Benioff hired a restaurant and delivered the keynote anyway, albeit to a smaller crowd. But more recently Ellison has been far more ebullient about cloud.

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RightNow focuses on customer service via call centers and self-service options via the Web and social networks. Oracle hinted at the likelihood of acquisitions in the cloud space at OpenWorld, while analyst firm Gartner – no doubt pre-briefed on plans – suggested Oracle will acquire and roll out more cloud capabilities in the next year or two.

Please follow this author on twitter: www.twitter.com/jasonstamper

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