Larry Ellison makes first-ever visit to Redmond to announce Oracle databases in Microsoft cloud – GeekWire

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Todd Bishop
2023-09-14 16:33:45

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, left, and Oracle chairman and CTO Larry Ellison on a live stream from Redmond, announcing plans to expand their partnership with a new service called Oracle Database@Azure.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Oracle Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison made a rare joint appearance this afternoon to announce the next stage in their partnership, a new service that will let customers run Oracle’s database services and cloud infrastructure in Microsoft’s Azure data centers.

Ellison said at the outset of the live stream that it was the first time he had ever been to Redmond, Wash., where Microsoft is based, which speaks in part to fierce nature of the longtime rivalry between the companies.

Microsoft’s SQL Server and Oracle Database have traditionally competed head-to-head in the database market, and the companies have also become competitors in the cloud in recent years. The rivalry dates back to the 1980s, manifesting in what was sometimes described as a public feud between Ellison and Bill Gates.

“It’s hard to believe,” Ellison acknowledged Thursday. “I waited until very late in my career to make the trip.”

“It took us 45 years!” Nadella said as the two tech leaders laughed along with Alysa Taylor, the Microsoft corporate vice president of Azure and industry marketing, who hosted the live stream.

Among other benefits, Microsoft and Oracle say their new service will give Oracle customers the ability to access Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI service, which leverages the tech giant’s partnership with the ChatGPT maker.

The new offering, Oracle Database@Azure, expands on previous work by the companies to connect their cloud infrastructures for better ease of use by their joint customers, reflecting the desire of many large companies to use multiple clouds.

The companies are effectively teaming up against their common competitors, the biggest of them being Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. Google recently announced a new initiative called the Cross-Cloud Network to simplify the process of networking and running distributed applications across multiple clouds.

The move reflects Microsoft’s desire to bend to the wishes of enterprise customers, and Oracle’s need to shore up its traditional database business, said Charles Fitzgerald, a Seattle-based angel investor and former Microsoft and VMware executive who follows the cloud industry closely on his Platformonomics site.

“Oracle is desperate to defend its database business which has lost considerable share to the cloud,” Fitzgerald said via email. “Unable to woo many customers to Oracle Cloud, Oracle is now relenting and encouraging customers to run Oracle Database on Azure. Microsoft wins as they have the broader customer relationship and pick up workloads around the database like AI and analytics.”

Oracle, which is officially headquartered in Austin, Texas, was based until 2020 in Redwood Shores, Calif., where the company still has a large presence.

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