Oracle has acquired Responsys for approximately $1.5 billion.
Responsys builds cloud-based marketing software for enterprises; Oracle will incorporate the newly acquired assets into its Customer Experience Cloud, which includes the company’s Commerce, Sales, Service, Social, and Oracle Marketing Cloud. Responsys tools allow clients to build campaigns via social networks (Twitter and Facebook in particular), mobile, email, Web, and even physical displays.
This isn’t Oracle’s first cloud-marketing acquisition. Last year, it purchased Involver and Vitrue, two firms that specialized in cloud-based social marketing, along with Collective Intellect, a seller of social-intelligence software. At the time, analysts and pundits assumed Oracle bought those properties as a response to similar moves by Salesforce (which acquired Buddy Media and Radian6, both of which built tools for managing and monitoring content on social networks) and Google (which bought social-networking-tools vendor Meebo).
After years of refusing to jump into the cloud with the same enthusiasm as some of its competitors, Oracle has spent the past several quarters making an aggressive cloud push. In addition to building out its cloud-marketing and networking tools, the company has devoted considerable resources to Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and other cloud-infrastructure initiatives.
In order to accelerate its cloud reach, Oracle even entered into alliances with Microsoft and Salesforce—two longtime rivals—to cross-sell various products. That was a surprising move, given Oracle’s reputation as a fierce competitor, but it hints at the company’s need to quickly bulk out its cloud offerings. Larry Ellison “shows his determination to serve as the arms dealer for cloud infrastructure,” R “Ray” Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, wrote in a June 25 research note. “Announcements on partnerships with Amazon, Dell, now Microsoft and soon with Salesforce.com and NetSuite show his determination to remain relevant in the cloud, though very late to the party.”
Oracle has never shied away from acquisitions, and it’s likely that the company will open its wallet for many more cloud firms over the next few years—but integrating them into a seamless whole is a whole different (and potentially much more difficult) challenge.