Oracle craves cloud companiesSince 2010, Oracle has been steadily acquiring cloud software companies, particularly SaaS providers that can help the business software maker grow its market share for software rented over the internet. The deals, including last month\u2019s $9.3 billion blockbuster bid for NetSuite, are crucial for the company\u2019s ability to keep pace with challengers such as SAP, Salesforce.com and Microsoft, all of which are forging their own aggressive strategies in the cloud.\nOracle follows a familiar pattern of either acquiring companies that bolster its existing market position in areas such as ERP or CRM, or buying firms that help it fill in gaps in the company\u2019s broad portfolio, says Gartner analyst Chad Eschinger, who covers the company closely. In chronological order, CIO.com explores 10 key cloud deals Oracle has made over the years.RightNowImage by Thinkstock\/RightnowIn 2011, Oracle initiated the first of several acquisitions of cloud-based customer engagement entities when it purchased RightNow Technologies for $1.5 billion. The company specialized in helping enterprises support customers via call centers, the web and social networks. Although Oracle had already long offered CRM solutions via its PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems acquisitions, RightNow gave Oracle an offering to challenge Salesforce.com, which was already the leading cloud CRM provider. Oracle would go on to acquire several CRM and marketing cloud companies.TaleoImage by Thinkstock\/TaleoIn early 2012 Oracle ponied up $1.9 billion for Taleo, a leading provider of cloud-based human capital management software that had cultivated 5,000 customers over the years. The deal was viewed as a counterweight to SAP\u2019s $3.4 billion purchase of HCM provider SuccessFactors. It also pitted Oracle squarely against another larger cloud provider with traction in Workday.EloquaImage by Thinkstock\/EloquaMarketing automation in the cloud was the result of Oracle\u2019s $810 million deal for Eloqua in late 2012. Perhaps not coincidentally, the merger came after Salesforce.com, an Eloqua partner, unveiled its own Marketing Cloud automation suite. If the RightNow pickup seemed like Oracle was dipping its toe in the CRM water, time proved that Eloqua was just getting started in its marketing spree.\n\u00a0BigMachinesImage by Thinkstock\/(Big MachinesOracle in 2013 snapped up BigMachines, whose cloud-based configure, price, quote, or CPQ, software helps salespeople quickly put together and price complex orders, for an undisclosed sum (but Business Insider reported Oracle paid $400 million). The technology, used by 275 companies at the time, essentially automated a lot of the grunt work salespeople had conducted in the past, using spreadsheets or even cocktail napkins.BlueKaiImage by Thinkstock\/(BluekaiContinuing its obsession with customer-focused engagement solutions, Oracle in 2014 landed on BlueKai, which aggregates data on consumers and offers it to marketers via its platform. The software and data enable marketers to produce targeted marketing campaigns to reach consumers via the web and on mobile devices. If there was any doubt Oracle was gunning for Salesforce.com, this deal put that to rest. Salesforce.com was also intensely focused on targeting customers via any digital means. Fortune reports that Oracle paid more $400 million for BlueKai.TOA TechnologiesImage by Thinkstock\/TOA TechnologiesOracle acquired field service software concern TOA Technologies in 2014. Its software monitors the flow of field service requests and schedules service appointments. The company\u2019s software was used by companies such as Dish Network to route technicians to homes.DatalogixImage by Thinkstock\/DatalogixIn a highly complementary deal to the BlueKai buy, Oracle in late 2014 coughed up $1.2 billion for Datalogix, which provides target advertising based on consumers\u2019 spending habits. Oracle said that the companies will provide marketers with a richer understanding of what consumers do, say and buy, allowing them to measure the effectiveness of their different campaigns and advertising channels.TexturaImage by Thinkstock\/TexturaOracle earlier this May agreed to pay $663 million for Textura, which offers cloud services for the engineering and construction industry. The software is being combined with Oracle\u2019s Primavera assets to provide a cloud platform that manages all phases of engineering and construction projects.Opower Image by Thinkstock\/(OpowerOracle\u2019s $532 million deal for Opower extends its customer engagement to the energy utility vertical. Its software, which stores and analyzes billions of meter readings, helps improve customer service and meet regulatory requirements for the likes of PG&E, Exelon and National Grid.NetSuiteImage by Thinkstock\/NetsuiteOracle\u2019s $9.3 billion deal to acquire NetSuite ratchets Oracle\u2019s cloud power to another level in financial management software, an area where the company has an embarrassment of riches. When Oracle closes the deal for NetSuite \u2013 a company in which Oracle founder Larry Ellison already owns a greater than 40 percent stake \u2013 it will have five ERP products, joining Oracle ERP Cloud, E-Business Suite, J.D. Edwards and PeopleSoft, says Gartner analyst Chad Eschinger. \u201cThere is going to be a lot of confusion, especially in sales and marketing,\u201d about how to position the products, Eschinger says.\nEschinger says how Oracle situates NetSuite in its ERP portfolio will be crucial for CIOs. If Oracle positions NetSuite as a midmarket solution does that mean NetSuite customers who find themselves growing have to move to one of Oracle\u2019s other suites? It remains to be seen.\nNetSuite customers who have deliberately stayed out of Oracle\u2019s large universe may view the deal as a nuisance. Customers of both vendors, such as Land O\u2019Lakes, look forward to the product synergies. CIO Mike Macrie tells CIO.com, \u201cOracle provides scale and enterprise access globally and Netsuite provides quality SaaS products and a partner network from which Oracle can further expand.\u201d\nOracle executives are supremely confident in the move, with CEO Mark Hurd saying that Oracle and NetSuite\u2019s cloud applications will \u201ccoexist in the market forever.\u201dBehind Oracle\u2019s cloud strategyReflecting on Oracle\u2019s cloud M&A strategy,\u00a0Gartner analyst Chad Eschinger says Oracle appears more focused than it has been in the past. \u201cThey obviously want to acquire solutions that are filling white space in industry specific verticals,\u201d Eschinger says. But deals such as NetSuite also show that they also want to create cloud analogs to existing on-premise apps.\nThat strategy appears to be working; Oracle has generated more than $12 billion in cloud software sales over the past year. However, Oracle\u2019s cash cow remains very much in the on-premise world, with only about 8 percent of its revenues coming from its cloud business.