Oracle Acquires Tekelec, Boosting Networking Stakes

Oracle has agreed to acquire Tekelec, which provides data-management and network-signaling tools to communications companies. As usual for deals of this type, actual terms went undisclosed.

“As connected devices and applications become ubiquitous, intelligent network and service control technologies are required to enable service providers to efficiently deploy all-IP networks, and deliver and monetize innovative communication services,” Bhaskar Gorti, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Communications, wrote in a statement. The Tekelec acquisition, he added, will give Oracle the ability to sell a “complete solution” that handles everything from end-user applications to business and network operations.

That means Oracle will need to figure out how Tekelec’s assets best fit with its own business-support and service-delivery platforms. “This acquisition further extends Oracle’s move into the heart of telecom networks,” Dana Cooperson, principal analyst at Ovum, wrote in a March 25 research note. “Tekelec will extend Oracle Communication’s network control capabilities, which it also bolstered with its February announcement to acquire Acme Packet.”

The acquisition plays into a growing trend of telecom blending with IT, Cooperson added, as well as software becoming a “key driver” of network capabilities. “Expect Oracle’s telecom-focused competitors (Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Ericsson, etc.) and [its] IT-focused competitors (HP, SAP, SAS Institute) to do more strategic soul-searching and, as their financial situation allows, to pursue acquisitions of their own,” she added. “Key areas for strategic shoring-up include customer experience management, applications enablement, big data analytics, subscriber data management, and network and service control intelligence.”

Back in February, Oracle acquired Acme Packet for roughly $1.7 billion. Acme Packet specialized in VoIP and data-transmission services and applications, counting 89 of the world’s top 100 communications companies as part of its client base. That was also a clear sign of Oracle’s intent to become a more aggressive player in networks; it also put Cisco, which had also been acquiring network-technology companies, on notice.

As more companies demand more efficient networks to handle massive amounts of data—and an increasing number of mobile devices in the hands of workers—competition among IT vendors will doubtlessly increase. Oracle, Cisco, and their rivals are all determined to offer holistic platforms to clients, complete with multiple pieces of interoperating software (and, often, hardware). While that raises the potential rewards—there’s nothing quite like having a client’s entire datacenter in your hands for the foreseeable future—it could also create something of a winner-take-all situation if those clients start signing onto one vendor over the others for their entire networking stack.


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