Oracle boss Larry Ellison said on Wednesday that he is out to dethrone IBM in the realm of business network hardware, including high-end computer servers.
“Our biggest competitor is IBM,” Ellison said during an on-stage chat with Kara Swisher at the prestigious All Things Digital conference hosted by the Rupert Murdoch-owned technology news Web site.
“IBM was No. 1 in databases. Now we are No. 1,” he said.
“And they were No. 1 in middleware [programs that help different elements of a computer system communicate], now it’s us; they were No. 1 in high-end servers, and we will be No. 1 in high-end servers,” Ellison added.
Oracle’s high-end offerings, such as Exadata and Exalogic, are well placed to “beat” IBM pSeries systems, according to Ellison.
However, he said that California-based Oracle was not a competitor to IBM in services, which has been a priority for the century-old New York-based technology pioneer.
The servers are a relatively new business for Oracle, which was founded in 1977 and specializes in business software and databases.
According to figures released on Wednesday by IDC, Oracle is currently ranked fourth in worldwide server market revenue, with its share declining to 6.1 percent, behind Hewlett-Packard (29.3 percent), IBM (27.3 percent) and Dell (15.6 percent).
However, Ellison said tracking market share was misleading, since Oracle was sacrificing sales of entry-level systems to focus on more profitable high-end gear with fat profit margins.
“Our margins are probably higher in the server industry,” Ellison said.
He explained that Oracle was emulating the model set by Apple in the consumer electronics market by providing fully integrated systems designed to be simple for users.
“We found that data centers were unnecessarily complex,” Ellison said.
That led to the decision to bring together hard disks, data storage, networks and rich databases, because “if we do all we can do it is much more reliable, much lower cost.”
“This is the Apple model,” he said, before paying tribute to the iPad, iPhone, iPod and Macintosh computer maker’s legendary co-founder and boss Steve Jobs.
Ellison also announced that from Wednesday all Oracle software will be accessible online in the Internet “cloud,” and that he will mark the occasion with his first “tweet” on Twitter.