Oracle does a lot of things very well – databases, easy BI for SMBs and orchestrating corporate takeovers. Something they do not do well, however, is social media. In fact, when they first floated the idea of a “social tool like Facebook on steroids” (more correctly known as the Oracle Social Network) for businesses at Oracle OpenWorld last year, no one really knew quite what to think (except that the video seemed to be slapped together at the last minute).
Being laughed at has never stopped Larry Ellison before, and it didn’t this time, either. One thing Ellison understands is a simple principal everyone should figure out early on—If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. If you can’t join ‘em, buy ‘em.
While this week had already been a somewhat turbulent week in the world of social media and networking, Oracle decided to shake things up even more by buying social marketing company Virtue, whose impressive client list includes McDonald’s, Proctor & Gamble and ClearChannel Communications– all of whom they made marketable to the Facebook generation. According to Virtue’s website, their publishing app “consolidates publishing activities for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ into one convenient, integrated dashboard for streamlined internal management and aggregated reporting. Build your brand by engaging in two-way conversations with fans and followers using the most feature-rich, efficient method available.”
Why now? This acquisition was likely influenced by SAP’s purchase of Ariba and Oracle’s ongoing rivalry with Salesforce.com – and just maybe to push the memories of that hokey Oracle Social Network video as far into the back of people’s minds as possible.