Congress is holding H-1B boost 'hostage,' says Oracle lobbyist

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--The politically explosive debate over millions of undocumented U.S. workers appears to be smothering high-tech companies' attempts to obtain higher allotments of H-1B temporary visas and green cards, Oracle's head lobbyist suggested Wednesday.

Any "rational" politician understands those longstanding pleas to bring in more skilled foreigners for gaps where no qualified Americans fit, said Robert Hoffman, who also serves as co-chairman of a coalition of high-tech companies called Compete America that lobbies for heightened visa caps. By his estimation, if that issue were severed from the rest of the immigration debate, it would "… Read more

The Great Open Source Debate (Dave R vs. Sarah Lacy on Yahoo Tech Ticker)

I was lucky enough to hang out with Sarah Lacy and shoot a segment on Yahoo Tech Ticker and discuss how big the market for open source is, and how big it can get. We talk about MySQL, Zimbra, JBoss, Oracle and others.

In the interview process she hits me with some good questions about open source but fails to mention that I killed it on "Spanish Castle Magic" on Guitar Hero minutes before. She went with the predictable "Higher Ground" but managed to rock out really hard.

Can you build a billion-dollar business by selling … Read more

Oracle's XQilla open-source contribution and the art of PR

Oracle just announced its contribution of the XQilla XQuery Engine under the Apache open-source license. There are two things that I like about this:

It's an open-source contribution and demonstrates that open source isn't purely Machiavellian at Oracle and It's the best press release I've seen in a long time.

On the former point, Ken Jacobs and others within Oracle's open-source ranks would suggest that I've been looking in the wrong places if I think Oracle is fairly mercenary with regard to open source. Fair enough.

But take a look at the press release (… Read more

What makes the most valuable tech companies so valuable?

How do we value technology companies? Ingenuity and invention, quality of service, brand loyalty, manufacturing muscle, operating efficiency, supply-chain management, price, great place to work. There are lots of metrics.

For those unfamiliar with the wily ways of Wall Street, the stock market has its own way of expressing what it thinks of companies. It's called market capitalization or market cap for short.… Read more

New Oracle software targets Salesforce

Updated at 7:20 a.m. to add details from Oracle announcement.

Oracle on Tuesday announced new on-demand CRM software aimed squarely at

The new software, Oracle CRM on Demand 15, is a revised version of a product acquired via Oracle's purchase of Siebel Systems in 2005.

Oracle's on-demand software, designed to help companies manage customer resources, will include a browser-based interface and can be customized to run on mobile devices such as BlackBerrys, and included in personalized Google and Yahoo pages.

Another aspect of the release is the inclusion of what Oracle calls "Social … Read more

More on the demise of solidDB

No, solidDB hasn't died. In fact, the fact that it's now free from IBM may actually turn it into an interesting open-source project.

But there are few, if any, near-term winners in the mess. Certainly not Solid's investors, who pumped nearly 100 million euros into the company only to sell it for (rumor has it) 20 million euros. Or so. In fact, the result was bad enough that one of Solid's venture investors went on the record to declare, "Sijoitus Solidiin ei vastannut sille asetettuja tavoitteita" ("The investment in Solid did not meet the objectives set for it."… Read more

SAP claims 100 of Oracle's customers have defected

It's a bit pathetic to watch proprietary behemoths slug it out over saturated markets. SAP just went on the offensive in one such skirmish, announcing that 100 of Oracle's Hyperion customers are buying SAP for performance management with the intention to replace Oracle. (As Josh Greenbaum notes, the real story here may not be the customer defections, but rather the fact that conservative SAP is taking the gloves off at all to smack Oracle around.)

This is fine, but I'd prefer to see press releases that announce that 100 net new customers were created through a differentiated … Read more

Oracle-BEA merger gets regulatory approval

Oracle announced Wednesday it has received a green light from regulators to move forward on its merger plans with BEA Systems.

For Oracle, the early termination of the antitrust review may just be the easiest part of the process it has undergone since launching its buyout bid for BEA in October.

Oracle's unsolicited buyout bid of $17 a share was initially met with resistance by BEA, which claimed it undervalued the company. The companies threw barbs back and forth, until BEA ultimately signed aboard, under pressure from its largest shareholder Carl Icahn.

The Federal Trade Commission and the U.… Read more

Tech companies beware, a bear may be outside your door

Has your tech company played coy with a potential suitor lately? You may want to rethink your reaction.

In the past four months, Oracle, Microsoft, and Electronic Arts have all launched high-profile, unsolicited buyout bids for reluctant targets. Such efforts are otherwise known as bear hugs.

Oracle put the squeeze on middleware competitor BEA Systems in October; Microsoft did likewise with Yahoo at the start of this month; and on Sunday, EA made a play for rival game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software.

Did someone forget to put the lid back on the honey jar?

In the case of Oracle, it … Read more

MIT prof's advice: Forget Yahoo, bid for SAP

Steve Ballmer's getting a lot of (unsolicited) advice these days about what Microsoft ought to do. You can find one of the more thoughtful contributions in this morning's New York Times. Check out Randall Stross's piece in the Times, where he quotes MIT professor Michael Cusumano, warning against acquiring an "old-style Internet asset, in decline, and at a premium."

Instead, Cusamano makes offers an intriguing alternative: forget about Yahoo and go after SAP.

"It's not an outlandish idea. The two companies held merger talks in late 2003, and perhaps since then, too. Microsoft … Read more