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What Oracle didn't say at OpenWorld

Oracle didn't have much to say at its annual OpenWorld conference, and that may be the point.

Is Oracle losing its touch? Or has it already conquered the enterprise software world and now lacks a compelling story to tell?

That's the feeling some reported coming out of Oracle's OpenWorld conference last week. Yes, bloggers and others dutifully reported on Oracle's Beehive (new collaboration product) and its new hardware device (data warehousing tool that will now play catch-up with Greenplum), but Oracle didn't break much new ground...for once.

CIO.com's Thomas Wallgum captures the void of breaking news succinctly:

But when your biggest and most exciting announcement revolves around a data-warehousing deal with HP, and your signature and most intriguing product--Fusion, which everyone is talking about--is now not going to be available until 2010 (after years of delays), then things are getting pretty rough. ("Enough with those questions about Fusion! Did you know that Elvis Costello and Seal are playing tonight!")...

(There weren't even any) shots at Oracle's major competitors--SAP, Microsoft, or soon to be Cisco in the collaboration space. Instead he picked on Teradata and Netezza?" Might Larry be losing his fastball?!

One area in which Oracle did shine was in CEO Larry Ellison's shot at cloud computing, calling the infatuation with the cloud "complete gibberish." For those of you who wonder why everyone continues to blather on about "the cloud," Ellison's comments will be welcome, as CNET's Dan Farber notes:

The problem is that every tech company now wants to be associated with cloud computing, no matter if their products and services meet the basic criteria. At least Ellison isn't afraid to address the hijacking of the phrase by marketers, including Oracle's.

Amen. Oracle may not have had much to say, but it's great to see Oracle's Ellison reminding us that enterprise software as a whole may even have less to say than we've collectively been pretending. At least Oracle is honest about it.