5 Burning Questions Surrounding Oracle Right Now

Some troubling, lingering questions are casting a cloud over Larry Ellison & Co.'s current party.

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Looking at some of the analyst recommendations of late (provided by Yahoo Finance), no one is telling any investor to sell, and the stock is performing quite well, according to the financial analysts. But for all Oracle's quarterly financial successes, I've often wondered by we don't see the ORCL share price up there with the Apples and Googles (or even SAP!)?

Where Did the Employees Go?

At the close of the Oracle's Q2 2009, the vendor employed 86,657. A year later, the number is 83,366. Total losses: 3,291.

Oracle is not alone in shedding employees, of course, though it's been forever tight-lipped on exactly why some workers are no longer employed. As one CIO.com article notes, a good many of those former employees could have worked in Oracle's consulting services business, whose revenue declined 18 percent in the second quarter, when compared with the same period a year ago.

Oracle: The Next Computer Associates?

As detailed in CIO.com's Oracle's Decade of Acquisition: Innovative or Just Well-Financed?, the vendor made an "about face" on acquisition strategy, beginning with hostile takeover of PeopleSoft in 2003. Fifty-five acquisitions later, it's still going strong—announcing another, Silver Creek Systems, in early January.

And, so far, it's worked for the company and its shareholders. For its customers? It's been a mixed bag, say industry analysts.

But there is the everpresent danger that Oracle could slowly morph into a cold, holding-company-like conglomerate, and end up like, as one commenter in an Oracle story put it, "The new Computer Associates." And we all know how that has worked out.

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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