As ZDNet picks up on, Oracle revealed a fixation on Salesforce.com during its last earnings call, with eight mentions of its rival.
The last company on which I've heard Oracle focus this much was Red Hat, as the software maker (re)announced Unbreakable Linux as a way to undercut Red Hat's dominant Linux distribution.
ZDNet Editor in Chief Larry Dignan suggests that the Salesforce smack talk may simply be a prelude to Oracle buying the online customer relations management specialist. I've heard those rumors going around, and it wouldn't surprise me: Oracle considered buying Red Hat before too.
Indeed, the best way to get acquired (or, at worst, undermined) by Oracle seems to be by beating it in the market. Oracle's corporate culture seems to appreciate vendors that can beat it at its own game. Oracle's latest fixation on Salesforce might suggest that its efforts to clobber the software-as-a-service leader with its own SaaS offering haven't worked, at least not as well as planned.
Regardless, it's becoming clear that the best anti-Oracle poison pill may well be a failure. If you want to avoid Oracle's acquisitive hands, lay down and die in the market. Oracle doesn't touch roadkill. It likes to eat winners.
That says a lot about the confidence Oracle has in itself and in its ability to compete.