Mark Hurd at FiReGlobal: “It’s the IP That Attracted Me”

Mark Hurd tells audience about his decision to join Oracle.

By Jenny Lee, Strategic News Service

Over 130 leaders in the fields of computer and Internet technology, telecommunications, policy, and marine sciences gathered at the Fairmont Hotel in Seattle for the 2nd FiReGlobal : West Coast conference on November 11, 2010, produced by Strategic News Service (SNS) and designed to reach across disciplines to encourage technology-based solutions to a range of economic and social issues. SNS founder Mark Anderson, a highly respected prognosticator and opinion leader in the computer and technology industries, was the host and chairman of the one-day event. The conference featured Oracle president Mark Hurd, who took the stage as the subject of a Conversation Centerpiece interview in his first external speaking engagement since joining Oracle.

After leaving Hewlett-Packard, Hurd described receiving many offers from companies that needed turnaround assistance. However, he chose to join Oracle because of its strong strategic position, and based upon the company’s “abundant intellectual property.”

“We just don’t want to be compared to anybody,” said Hurd. Oracle will have spent over $4 billion in research and development this year, driven by CEO Larry Ellison. Hurd told the FiReGlobal audience that the “industry is all about IP [intellectual property],” and that he foresees Oracle using its extensive IP to provide homogenous solutions that serve various markets. In particular, there will be an emphasis on applications and a transition back to vertical integration of software, hardware, operating systems, and applications.

“I don’t know what it means,” Hurd replied when asked about hype surrounding “the cloud.” “I have nothing against the word ‘cloud’,” he added, but pointed to using the term with caution because it could mean any number of things. While many companies express concern for the hardware and software utilized in their own supply chain networks, they often do not ask the same questions about cloud services. “When we talk about some issue or some opportunity, people tend to insert the word ‘cloud,’ and that’s going to be the answer to whatever question — or it’s magic. Somewhere in this cloud is
hardware, software, and intellectual property, and it has to come from somewhere to somewhere else; basically someone else is doing it.”

“I think Larry Ellison and Mark Hurd working together have the opportunity to be one of the legendary management teams in technology history,” Anderson said later. He expects Oracle to have a breakout year in 2011.

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