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Oracle's Ellison Issues Cloud Challenge

Oracle chief Larry Ellison vows to make life difficult for Dell, IBM and H-P once the database giant's Sun deal is completed.





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CEO Larry Ellison plans to wield cloud computing as a cudgel against its rivals once the database giant completes its

Sun Microsystems




With the E.U. looking increasingly likely to


the $7.4 billion


, Oracle struck a bullish tone during the conference call to discuss its

second-quarter results

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late on Thursday.

Oracle expects "full and unconditional clearance" from the

European Commission

in January, despite regulators' initial skepticism about the deal's antitrust implications.

With the Sun deal now seemingly inevitable, Ellison outlined his plans for his latest acquisition. The combined Oracle/Sun will offer high end, high performance machines capable of supporting firms'

cloud computing

efforts, he said.

Cloud services, which offer compute power and storage via the Internet or a

secure network

, are fast becoming one of the tech sector's hottest technologies. A growing number of companies are pushing cloud services as a way for firms to avoid the upfront costs of hardware and software.

Ellison explained that the combined Oracle/Sun contains all the requisite components for cloud computing, from servers, storage and networking through to database software and operating systems.

By offering these myriad technologies in a tightly integrated package, the fiery Oracle chief is confident of gaining market share against rivals


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, and


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"We think that will heavily differentiate our offering with the offerings of IBM, HP and Dell," added the CEO. "We think we can compete very effectively there and that will deliver high margins and allow us to deliver that $1.5 billion of additional profit in our first full year of having Sun."

The next generation of Sun's Solaris operating system will have a major cloud component, according to Ellison, managing clusters of computers which in turn support customers' cloud efforts.

At least one analyst thinks that Ellison is shrewd to stick his head into the clouds.

"We like Oracle's vision of using Sun's assets to deliver unified solutions to customers to both power customer data centers and cloud provider data centers," wrote Pat Walravens, an analyst at JMP Securities, in a note released on Friday. "With Sun, Oracle will have most of, if not all, the tools needed to provide a full cluster."

Walravens warns, however, that Oracle will need to ensure it has the hardware production and supply chain capabilities to meet customer demand.


, which comfortably beat analysts' second-quarter estimates, also issued solid third-quarter guidance.

Safra Catz, the company's president, explained that total revenue growth on a non-GAAP basis is expected to grow between 3% and 6% at current exchange rates and negative 3% to flat in constant currency.

Excluding items, Oracle expects earnings between 36 cents a share and 38 cents a share, assuming current exchange rates, up from 35 cents a share in the same period last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect Oracle to report revenue of $5.71 billion and earnings of 36 cents a share.

Oracle shares surged $1.45, or 6.3%, to $24.33 in Friday trading, outpacing the broader advance in tech stocks that saw the


gain 1%. Sun's stock was also heading northward, albeit modestly, gaining 4 cents, or 0.4%, to reach $9.33.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York