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Oracle Acquiring Cloud Vendor RightNow for $1.5 Billion

Less than a week after entering an agreement to buy enterprise search vendor Endeca, Oracle announced on Monday that it also plans to acquire RightNow Technologies Inc. for $1.5 billion.

The deal, approved by RightNow's board, is set to close by early next year, pending shareholder and regulatory approval.

RightNow, which claims it has 2,000 customers, provides cloud-based customer service applications. Its Customer Service Cloud product, which is used by customer service agents, is currently being eclipsed by Salesforce.com's Service Cloud. RightNow provides customer service via call centers, the Internet and social networks.

Oracle launched Oracle Public Cloud during its OpenWorld conference in San Francisco earlier this month, and also indicated that it plans to become more aggressive in building a portfolio of cloud-based platforms and services.

Oracle has had a long and heated rivalry with Salesfore.com, whose Software as a Service (SaaS) customer relationship management (CRM) portfolio competes with Oracle's own suite of applications and CRM software. By acquiring RightNow, Oracle picks up a key challenger to Salesforce.com.

"Oracle is moving aggressively to offer customers a full range of cloud solutions including sales force automation, human resources, talent management, social networking, databases and Java as part of the Oracle Public Cloud," said Oracle Executive Vice President Thomas Kurian in a statement. "RightNow's leading customer service cloud is a very important addition to Oracle's Public Cloud."

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison exchanged barbs with each other earlier this month, both accusing the other of locking customers into their respective offerings.

Nevertheless, Salesforce.com is on a run-rate to gross $2.2 billion in revenues this year, while RightNow has forecast revenues for this year to reach $226 million.  

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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