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Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) Looks to the Cloud


The software giant is struggling to gain traction in the hardware business. But its innovative new products and an improving US economy should give it a boost.

Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) has a long history of buying up smaller software companies whose products nicely complement its own technology.

This year, for example, its purchases are running at a rate of about one per month. Its latest came on September 17, when it added SelectMinds, which helps businesses use social media to recruit new employees, for an undisclosed amount.

On July 30, Oracle snapped up Xsigo Systems, which makes cloud computing technology. Oracle has also used acquisitions to expand into other industries: In August 2010, it bought Phase Forward, which makes applications for health-care and life-sciences firms, for $685 million.

Sun Microsystems Acquisition Changed the Face of Oracle

One of its biggest acquisitions so far was computer-hardware maker Sun Microsystems, which Oracle bought for $7.6 billion in 2009.

Until this point, Sun's servers had been sold with Oracle's database software, but the combined company aimed to better leverage the strengths of both by providing businesses with an integrated solution: Oracle servers running the company's latest software right out of the box.

Here's how Oracle put it at the time:
Each layer of the stack will be architected to improve performance, leverage innovation and centralize management so that IT will be more predictable, more supportable and more secure. Customers will benefit as their system performance, reliability and security goes up and their system integration and management costs go down.

The deal also gave Oracle two of Sun's most attractive properties: the Java programming language and the widely used Solaris operating system, in addition to the company's long experience in the server business.
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