Marc Andreesen, erstwhile co-founder of Netscape and now uber-VC, says “The Clock Is Ticking On Oracle.” He explains:
Ten years ago, it was a joke: you’d raise $20 million in venture capital and write a $4 or $5 million check to Oracle, Sun, BEA, and EMC….When it started, Salesforce looked like a toy compared with Siebel. Look ahead five years later, it’s obviously better. Not a single one of our startups uses Oracle.
And I suspect he was using Oracle only as an example of many companies that need to execute a pivot if they’re going to be in the same shape 10 years from now that they’re in today.
In the last year I’ve seen plenty of examples of companies who, in the past, would have spent £250k or more on a technology solution and can now spend 20-40% of that. If you’re a big company – HP, IBM or similar – and you charged a client millions for a solution last year that this year they think they can get for hundreds or even tens of thousands, your revenue is going to suffer (not to mention profits, stock price and individual bonuses).
Those big companies are going to have to do some pretty incredible gymnastics to execute this pivot and keep everyone happy. Some, of course, will choose to ignore the potential consequences and will try and ride the changes out hoping that none of their customers will notice what other companies are up to.
Only a few will do what Intel did in 1983 when it got out of memory chips and focused on microprocessors. Many large IT companies will soon face their Intel moment. It will be interesting to watch how they react.