Oracle's Big Buy

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Oracle ( ORCL) swallowed Taleo ( TLEO) whole this week for $1.9 billion, further reversing course on its formerly strident and mocking take on cloud computing.

And wouldn't you know it? A good chunk of the media didn't mention the reverse, which was severe enough to give longtime Oracle watchers whiplash. A violent change in direction is important to mention, though. It can be a sign of rudderlessness and desperation, think Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), listing this way and that.

But a sharp change in direction could also provide evidence of a flexibility needed to remain viable in a competitive marketplace over time. What's the case with Oracle? Probably the latter, but you can't even proffer a guess at the answer if you are not asking the question.

Marketwatch ( NWS) is one of many media outlets that did not bother to point out the wide spread between Oracle's old aggressive disregard for the cloud and its newfound embrace. They even called Oracle's move "aggressive" without putting that aggression into proper context by setting beside their old disregard. When Marketwatch dipped into the past, it was to mention a personnel connection with a software merger from a decade ago. Considering, that was an irrelevancy.

The New York Times, by contrast, got to the relevant item right from the first sentence: "Oracle, once wary of Web-based applications, has now embraced the cloud."
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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