ORCL - Oracle Corporation

NYSE - NYSE Delayed price. Currency in USD
50.96
-1.69 (-3.21%)
At close: 4:04PM EST

51.25 +0.29 (0.57%)
After hours: 5:11PM EST

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Previous close52.65
Open53.07
Bid50.86 x 800
Ask52.76 x 1200
Day's range50.80 - 53.22
52-week range49.89 - 60.50
Volume12,013,881
Avg. volume10,181,680
Market cap163.462B
Beta (5Y monthly)1.11
PE ratio (TTM)16.16
EPS (TTM)3.15
Earnings date11 Mar 2020 - 15 Mar 2020
Forward dividend & yield0.96 (1.76%)
Ex-dividend date07 Jan 2020
1y target est55.67
  • Oracle Stock Falls 3%
    Investing.com

    Oracle Stock Falls 3%

    Investing.com - Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) Stock fell by 3.07% to trade at $51.02 by 15:23 (20:23 GMT) on Tuesday on the NYSE exchange.

  • Amazon Adopts Rivals’ Playbook to Fight JEDI Cloud Bid Loss
    Bloomberg

    Amazon Adopts Rivals’ Playbook to Fight JEDI Cloud Bid Loss

    (Bloomberg) -- A powerful executive with Amazon.com Inc. in October portrayed attempts by archrival Oracle Corp. to block her company from winning one of the biggest-ever government deals as a last-ditch attempt to rescue a business that was becoming irrelevant.Now, Amazon is borrowing a page from the playbook Oracle used to unseat it as the front-runner for an up to $10 billion, 10-year project to overhaul the military’s technological operations.Amazon filed suit in federal court in November after the Pentagon, in a surprise move, on Oct. 25 awarded the contract to Microsoft Corp. Amazon asserted that the procurement was corrupted by the intervention of President Donald Trump, whose disdain for Jeff Bezos, its chairman and chief executive officer, is widely known.“Amazon is going to the mattresses,” said Stan Soloway, a deputy undersecretary of defense under President Bill Clinton and now president of Celero Strategies, a Washington-area consulting firm. “It feels like the same scorched-earth approach” that Oracle took.Earlier, Amazon had sounded a very different note on legal challenges in the government contracts arena. Two days before it lost the award to Microsoft, Teresa Carlson, who oversees government contracting for the company’s profitable cloud-computing unit, Amazon Web Services, derided efforts by Oracle and others to cast the Pentagon’s bidding process as corrupt and rigged in Amazon’s favor.It’s “kind of sad” when losers routinely protest procurement decisions “because it delays innovation,” she told other female corporate leaders, lobbyists and government officials at a Washington conference.Amazon’s combative legal strategy includes seeking Trump’s deposition, which legal experts say is unlikely but not impossible. It hopes to block the Pentagon from putting the cloud project into effect without a new evaluation or award decision.The longer the delay, the more time it has to gather depositions from officials, win over lawmakers, influence public opinion and prevent Microsoft from doing anything on the cloud project that would be hard to reverse. It’s also claiming the Defense Department lowered its standards by choosing Microsoft.Microsoft declined to comment. Oracle didn’t respond to a request for comment. Amazon pointed to earlier statements from company spokesman Drew Herdener who said the contract evaluation was tainted by deficiencies and “unmistakable bias.”The company scored an early win on Feb. 13 when a U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge temporarily blocked Microsoft from working on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud program while the lawsuit is pending. The order, which is still sealed, says the Pentagon must stop working on the contract “until further order of the court.”The e-commerce giant’s newfound aggressiveness has surprised some observers. The company remained a champion of the project in 2018 and 2019, while Oracle mounted a fierce lobbying and public-relations effort to stop the Pentagon from awarding a sole-source contract. “I didn’t think” they would protest even if they lost, Soloway said.Over the last two years, Oracle has filed -- and lost -- challenges at the Government Accountability Office and the federal claims court. Those efforts resulted in news stories airing its claims of unethical behavior by Pentagon and Amazon officials.Oracle’s audience wasn’t only bureaucrats and judges, but also the White House, lawmakers and the general public, all of which were simultaneously being flooded with revelations about Pentagon employees who worked on the procurement in its early days and then left to work for Amazon.Amazon is similarly seeking common cause with outsiders. Its case so far has attracted briefs from Protect Democracy, an anti-corruption group, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which has sued the Trump administration numerous times for alleged ethics lapses. Both organizations say they haven’t received money from Amazon.Amazon’s court case could help amplify its perspective on the procurement the same way that Oracle’s challenges attracted media attention. “There is also potential in litigation that you are arguing to members of Congress and the public,”said Steven Schooner, a professor of procurement law at George Washington University Law School.The company has been characterizing the loss of the contract as a political, not a technical, decision. Its suit contends that Pentagon officials artificially lowered their evaluation of the company’s proposal and that Trump “launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI contract” away from Amazon “to harm his perceived political enemy” -- Bezos.Earlier this month, Jay Carney, Amazon’s top spokesman, told CNBC that the company was taking legal action because it believes that “blatant political interference” affected the award decision. Trump has long criticized Bezos over everything from the shipping rates Amazon pays the U.S. Postal Service to his ownership of the Washington Post.While Oracle charged that Pentagon officials failed to properly investigate ethical issues surrounding the bid, Amazon goes further by arguing that bias cost it the deal. Amazon alleges that the Defense Department, swayed by Trump’s animosity, unfairly judged its bid. It cites passages in a book by the speechwriter to former Defense Secretary James Mattis, stating Trump once told Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of the bid. (Mattis has criticized the book.)“Contracting officers are accused every day of not playing by the rules but rarely that they had a vendetta,” said Charles Tiefer, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law.Microsoft, International Business Machines Corp. and other Amazon rivals at times joined forces with Oracle to try to stop the Pentagon from awarding the cloud contract to a single company, which made Amazon the obvious front-runner.Amazon not only was the market leader in the cloud-server industry, it also had won high-level security clearances from its previous work moving the Central Intelligence Agency’s data to the cloud.The tech companies courted the press and Defense Department cloud-services buyers. The Oracle coalition also descended on Capitol Hill, appealing particularly to members of the Armed Services committees. Some of the lawmakers would later propose curtailing the Pentagon’s funding for the contract until it justified its strategy.Amazon, likewise, in June hired a Trump-connected lobbyist, Jeff Miller, just before Trump disparaged the bidding process as uncompetitive, citing complaints from Oracle, Microsoft and IBM.Oracle’s legal challenges helped Microsoft catch up technologically -- and ultimately win. During the nearly three-year process, Microsoft won new deals with large customers such as Chevron Corp., AT&T Inc. and more than a dozen intelligence agencies that bolstered its standing in the marketplace.Delay Was Microsoft’s AllyMicrosoft, in addition, invested in a portable Azure system to analyze and transfer data to the cloud from the battlefield. The delay also gave Microsoft time to attain a higher level of government security, though it still hasn’t matched Amazon’s top-secret certification.Oracle, too, may have benefited from the delays it continued to engineer even after it was eliminated. Oracle, which sells large amounts of legacy software to the Pentagon, already has a partnership with Microsoft that it could use to win more business from the Defense Department.With much of the fighting between Amazon and Oracle in the rear-view mirror, JEDI’s fate rests with the federal courts. As Amazon waits for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to decide on its request to depose Trump and Pentagon officials, Oracle is appealing a July ruling that it lacked legal standing to challenge the bidding.“People file these suits for all kinds of reasons,” Tiefer said. “You could argue that one of the things that Amazon wants is a legitimate explanation for why they lost.”\--With assistance from Dina Bass.To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at nnix1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Warren Buffett Flashes ‘Urgent’
    Bloomberg

    Warren Buffett Flashes ‘Urgent’

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Warren Buffett says he’s in the “urgent zone.” It’s the folksy billionaire’s way of calling himself old. But even as Buffett approaches 90, the spotlight-loving chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. isn’t ready just yet to talk about who will run his giant company when he’s gone. He still has more to say, and more to do — and that could make for an interesting year ahead.Buffett’s annual letter of intrigue arrived Saturday morning, a roundup of thoughts that the Oracle of Omaha has been publishing for six decades. It’s evolved over time into what reads like a love letter to shareholders, to insurance float — the lucrative gift that keeps on giving at Berkshire — and to America as a whole, while taking the occasional jab at Wall Street’s fee-giddy bankers and anyone who thinks Ebitda is an honest profit gauge. Lately, he’s also lamented the lack of cheap takeover targets. The company’s last splashy acquisition was in 2015, when it struck a $37 billion deal for airplane-parts supplier Precision Castparts. Berkshire had $128 billion of cash as of December, about the same level as the previous quarter and many billions more than Buffett would like to see sitting in a bank. The letter, one of two major yearly events for Berkshire investors and Buffett groupies (the other is the shareholder meeting each May) has become more condensed in recent years. But more important to readers is what’s written between the lines — hints of a major deal and signs that the world’s most celebrated businessman is about to step aside. I suspect the former will come before the latter, though not even Buffett can truly know.As mentioned, Buffett will turn 90 this summer, and his right-hand man Charlie Munger is 96. His letter contained an anecdote about a friend from his past who, at the relatively ripe age of 80-something, kept receiving requests from a local newspaper for biographical data so that it could prep the man’s obituary. The request was marked “URGENT.” “Charlie and I long ago entered the urgent zone,” Buffett wrote, assuring shareholders that their company is “100% prepared” for the sad day of their departure and even sharing some details about his will. In my decade covering Berkshire, it’s the most I can remember Buffett discussing what will happen when he’s gone.Over 12 to 15 years after his death, Buffett’s class A shares will be converted into B shares and distributed to various charities; the executors and trustees are otherwise instructed not to sell any Berkshire stock, no matter what. That’s putting a lot of faith in the next CEO, whoever it is. Buffett’s still keeping hush about his succession plans. But in a first this year, he said that shareholders can direct questions directly to his lieutenants, Greg Abel and Ajit Jain, at the May investor meeting. It’s something I suggested Berkshire should start doing at last year’s meeting, and indeed Buffett did hand Abel the mic in a rather symbolic, if impromptu, moment during the Q&A session. Not long ago, Abel’s title was expanded from head of Berkshire Hathaway Energy to vice chairman of all the company’s various operations — except for insurance, which is overseen by Jain. Notably, this year’s letter signaled a desire to invest more of the energy division’s retained earnings to take on large utility projects. He said Berkshire’s operations in the Omaha-based company’s neighboring state of Iowa will be wind self-sufficient by next year thanks to investments in wind turbines, which have helped to keep rates lower than the competition as profits soar. Berkshire Hathaway Energy and BNSF — the railroad Berkshire bought in 2009 — together earned $8.3 billion last year, making them two of the biggest contributors to profit. Abel’s rising profile, along with the emphasis on energy, leads me to wonder whether he’s not only being groomed to take over for Buffett, but also whether Abel could soon make his own M&A splash. Separately, Todd Combs, who manages some of Berkshire's stock-market portfolio, was recently tapped to be CEO of its Geico insurance business. Despite his dual-function sparking succession curiosity, he didn't get a shout-out in the letter.Buffett’s letter always includes a rant on the topics du jour, and this year’s was corporate governance. He penned a section on the “vexing problem” of subservient corporate boards made up of overpaid aging directors, especially those who don’t tap into their own savings to buy shares in the companies they serve. Of course, Berkshire is guilty of some of that. The average age of its board is 74 (including three nonagenarians). Buffett’s celebrity and track record has also allowed him to skirt many of the corporate governance customs expected of other CEOs, such as quarterly earnings calls, more detailed filings and returning cash to shareholders. His successor may not be given so much leeway, especially not with $128 billion sitting around. Reading that finger-wagging section, it was hard not to think of Boeing Co. and General Electric Co. — one company that was once seen as Buffett-investment quality, and another that in many ways tried to be like Berkshire. The downfall of each has been a devastating display of what can happen when leadership isn’t held to account, and I imagine that’s the sort of thing Buffett had in mind when he was writing. Then again, his investment in Kraft Heinz Co. is almost the pot calling the kettle black. Kraft Heinz juiced Ebitda by irresponsibly under-investing in its business — which goes completely against the Buffett way — and all the while it happened under Buffett’s nose. Berkshire is the largest shareholder, and while the Kraft Heinz holding is carried at $13.8 billion on its balance sheet, it had a market value of only $10.5 billion as of Dec. 31 (and is worth even less than that now).Buffett only reveals what he wants to, and it’s clear that succession is on his mind, as is his unending hunger for deals. Is it urgent enough for him to strike soon? To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at tlachapelle@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Amazon Seeks Internal Pentagon Documents in JEDI Cloud Case
    Bloomberg

    Amazon Seeks Internal Pentagon Documents in JEDI Cloud Case

    (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. has asked a court to force the government to hand over documents related to Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s decision to recuse himself from making decisions on a $10 billion cloud-services contract.In a court filing made public on Friday, Amazon seeks a trove of documents to bolster its challenge of the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud contract that was awarded to Microsoft Corp. in October.Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud unit, is also asking the U.S Court of Federal Claims to require the government to turn over materials that shed light on the role that Stacy Cummings, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, played in the procurement.Cummings communicated with the team evaluating JEDI bids and worked on preparations for JEDI-related meetings involving Esper, the lawsuit said. She recused herself from working on the procurement in September 2019, according to the lawsuit.In a previous filing, government lawyers argued that Amazon is “not entitled” to all materials relating to the recusals of Cummings and Esper. They added that Cummings had a conflict with Microsoft, that “did not impact the procurement.”Other files Amazon seeks include “informal notes” between the bid selection team members, JEDI-related content on digital channels and procurement documents that were presented to Esper and Deputy Secretary David Norquist.Representatives for the Defense Department and Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Amazon filed a lawsuit in November in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims alleging that the Defense Department failed to fairly judge its bid because President Donald Trump viewed Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos as his “political enemy.”Amazon asked the court earlier this month to allow it to question Trump, Esper, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer.In August 2019, the newly confirmed Esper ordered a review of the procurement after Trump endorsed criticism that the Pentagon had given Amazon an unfair advantage with the contract’s design.The Pentagon announced in October that Esper would recuse himself from any decisions involving the contract to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Esper’s son worked as a consultant for International Business Machines Corp., which along with Oracle Corp., had earlier been eliminated from the competition.Three days after Esper’s recusal, the Pentagon announced it had chosen Microsoft, an upset victory for the company that many in the industry viewed as a distant second to Amazon.“A complete factual record on the bases for these recusals is especially critical in light of the well-grounded allegations AWS has made about the troubling circumstances surrounding the recusals of DoD personnel,” the lawsuit said.The Pentagon’s JEDI project is designed to consolidate the department’s cloud computing infrastructure and modernize its technology systems. Earlier this month, a judge agreed to block Microsoft from working on the contract while Amazon’s lawsuit is being litigated.To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at nnix1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Paula DwyerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Some Oracle Employees Stop Work in Protest of Larry Ellison’s Politics
    Bloomberg

    Some Oracle Employees Stop Work in Protest of Larry Ellison’s Politics

    (Bloomberg) -- While a wave of employee activism marked by walk-outs and protests has rippled through Silicon Valley the past few years, Oracle Corp. glided along unscathed.Now, a symbol of tech’s old guard is facing the stirrings of a worker uprising as well. People left their desks Thursday at Oracle offices around the world to protest Chairman Larry Ellison’s fundraiser a day earlier for President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. The protest, called No Ethics/No Work, involved about 300 employees walking out of their offices or stopping work at remote locations at noon local time and devoting the rest of the day to volunteering or civic engagement, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.Ellison drew employee ire that most didn’t know existed at Oracle. News of the fundraiser for Trump’s re-election campaign at Ellison’s home in Rancho Mirage, California, spurred a petition at Change.org from some of the company’s 136,000 employees. The workers argued the chairman’s public support for Trump violated Oracle’s diversity, inclusion and ethics policies, and harmed the image of the world’s second-largest software maker.The petition had more than 8,000 signatures as of Thursday afternoon, though it was open to the public and anyone could sign it. Organizers demanded that Oracle and Ellison give money to support a humanitarian cause such as climate change, denounce the Trump administration and commit to diversifying the company’s board.Employees at Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Salesforce.com Inc. started mobilizing more than two years ago over a variety of issues, including law enforcement and military contracts, the gender pay gap and the treatment of contract workers.Thursday’s activism at Oracle, a database stalwart founded in 1977, showed cultural differences from the younger companies like Google. Some Oracle workers who participated in the “log off” used vacation time for the protest, the people said. Many had asked the company’s human resources officials whether they would be targeted for participating and didn’t receive a response before the protest, so they took the precaution of participating on their own time, the people said.Others who supported the action, but were leery about the company’s potential response, chose to donate money to charitable groups that oppose Trump administration policies rather than leave work, the people said.Some employees received a warning Thursday when trying to access the protest organizers’ website from a work computer: “Access to this site may not be permitted by the Oracle Acceptable Use Policy. However, if user is authorized and has legitimate business reason to access the requested site, then click below to access. Your access will be logged.”Oracle, however, said the message was an error that was corrected.“The site was not intentionally blocked by Oracle,” said spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger. “It was temporarily blocked by a ‘false positive’ from our McAfee network security and anti-virus software. Once we were notified by employees of this issue, our security team conducted a review, determined that there was no actual security threat, and then whitelisted the site.”Organizers said the protest participation at Oracle’s headquarters in Redwood City, California, seemed more muted than in other locations, such as New York City and Austin, Texas, which have more young workers.The organizers hope Thursday’s action is the first effort to voice concerns about the company’s policies, and employees will continue to feel motivated to speak out, one of the people said.To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, Mark MilianFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Trump Backs Supporter Larry Ellison in Court Fight With Google
    Bloomberg

    Trump Backs Supporter Larry Ellison in Court Fight With Google

    (Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reject an appeal by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, boosting Oracle Corp.’s bid to collect more than $8 billion in royalties for Google’s use of copyrighted programming code in the Android operating system.The administration weighed in on the high-stakes case on the same day that President Donald Trump attended a re-election campaign fundraiser in California hosted by Oracle’s co-founder, billionaire Larry Ellison.Ellison hosted a golf outing and photos with Trump. The event cost a minimum of $100,000 per couple to attend, with a higher ticket price of $250,000 for those who wanted to participate in a policy roundtable with the president, the Palm Springs Desert Sun reported.Google is challenging an appeals court ruling that it violated Oracle copyrights when it included some Oracle-owned Java programming code in Android. The dispute has split Silicon Valley, pitting developers of software code against companies that use the code to create programs.Google’s “verbatim copying” of Oracle’s code into a competing product wasn’t necessary to foster innovation, the U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco said Wednesday in a filing with the court.Francisco had asked the high court in September, on behalf of the administration, not to hear Google’s appeal. The Supreme Court usually, though not always, takes the solicitor general’s advice about pending appeals. In this case, the justices agreed to take the case and are scheduled to hold oral arguments on March 24.”The Obama Solicitor General Don Verrilli supported Oracle’s position in Oracle v. Google, a position maintained by Trump Solicitor General Noel Francisco,” Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said in an email.Google contends the appeals court ruling, if not reversed, will make it harder to develop new applications.“A remarkable range of consumers, developers, computer scientists, and businesses agree that open software interfaces promote innovation and that no single company should be able to monopolize creativity by blocking software tools from working together,” the company said in a statement. “Openness and interoperability have helped developers create a variety of new products that consumers use to communicate, work, and play across different platforms.”Francisco asked the justices to give the government 10 minutes to argue its position in the case. The U.S. has “substantial interest” in issues regarding copyright law and the re-use of computer code at the heart of the dispute, he said in a filing.(Updates with fundraiser details in third paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected spelling on former solicitor general’s name.)\--With assistance from Mark Bergen and Nico Grant.To contact the reporter on this story: Malathi Nayak in San Francisco at mnayak21@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net, Peter Blumberg, Joe SchneiderFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Tech Daily: FB Content Moderation & IRS Lawsuit, AMZN Fights ORCL on JEDI, AMD Epyc in GCP, More
    Zacks

    Tech Daily: FB Content Moderation & IRS Lawsuit, AMZN Fights ORCL on JEDI, AMD Epyc in GCP, More

    Facebook's content moderation plan, its IRS lawsuit, Amazon's defense in JEDI, Google Cloud deploying AMD Epyc and other stories are covered here.

  • The 10 richest Americans are just beginning to take sides in the 2020 presidential race
    Yahoo Finance

    The 10 richest Americans are just beginning to take sides in the 2020 presidential race

    The ten richest Americans have a combined wealth of well over half a trillion dollars. And we might only be beginning to feel the influence of all that buying power in the 2020 campaign.

  • Bloomberg

    Amazon Denies Unfair Advantage in Oracle Challenge of JEDI

    (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. is denying a Pentagon cloud-computing contract valued at as much as $10 billion was unfairly tailored for the e-commerce giant.In a court filing made public Monday, Amazon countered rival Oracle Corp.’s claims that bidding for the lucrative cloud deal was tainted by relationships between its employees and former Pentagon officials.Oracle is appealing a July ruling from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that dismissed its legal challenge of the cloud contract based on claims that the bidding violated procurement law and was marred by conflicts of interest. Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud unit, has filed a separate lawsuit challenging its loss of the contract known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, which was awarded to Microsoft Corp. in October. Amazon claims it lost the bid after interference from the White House and is seeking to interview President Donald Trump in that case.Oracle’s lawsuit claims that Amazon offered two former Pentagon employees jobs at the company while they were working on the contract. In one case, Deap Ubhi, who had worked at Amazon before joining the government, allegedly helped craft the JEDI procurement for weeks after accepting a job offer in October 2017 from AWS, according to the lawsuit.Amazon argued that Oracle’s lawsuit is based on “suspicion and innuendo” and that neither employee that Amazon hired disclosed any “competitively useful” information to the company. Government lawyers have also argued in court that the employees’ input on the JEDI procurement was minimal.Representatives for the Pentagon and Oracle didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.The U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled in July that the Pentagon’s contracting officer properly determined the relationships had no adverse impact on the integrity of the acquisition process and that Oracle didn’t have standing to challenge the contract. The Pentagon eliminated Oracle and International Business Machines Corp. from the competition in April 2019.Last week a federal judge temporarily blocked Microsoft from working on the Pentagon cloud project while Amazon’s lawsuit is litigated. The Pentagon’s JEDI project is designed to consolidate the department’s cloud computing infrastructure and modernize its technology systems. The contract is worth as much as $10 billion over a decade.To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at nnix1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth WassermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • ORCL or INTU: Which Is the Better Value Stock Right Now?
    Zacks

    ORCL or INTU: Which Is the Better Value Stock Right Now?

    ORCL vs. INTU: Which Stock Is the Better Value Option?

  • Amazon Seeks to Question Trump in Suit Challenging Bid Loss
    Bloomberg

    Amazon Seeks to Question Trump in Suit Challenging Bid Loss

    (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. has asked the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to allow it to question President Donald Trump in its lawsuit challenging the loss of a highly lucrative cloud contract.In a court filing made public on Monday, Amazon asks to question Trump and top Pentagon leaders about their role in the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud contract that was awarded to Microsoft Corp. in October.Amazon is seeking evidence to show political interference cost the company the cloud deal. Among the leaders Amazon seeks to depose are Trump, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer, as well as other individuals involved in the selection process, according to the Jan. 17 filing.Amazon faces an uphill battle to persuade a judge to order the president to participate in a deposition in this case, procurement experts said.“It is absurd to think that this President, at this point, would sit for a deposition or, for that matter, show respect for the legal system,” Steven Schooner, a professor at the George Washington University Law School, said in a statement.Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said in a statement the company is seeking the additional evidence to preserve the public’s confidence in the procurement process. Rachel VanJohnson, a spokeswoman for the Defense Department’s Cloud Computing Program Office, said in a statement the Pentagon “strongly opposes” Amazon’s request to depose its senior officials because it would delay implementation of the technology program. The contract is worth up to $10 billion over a decade.The company’s cloud unit, Amazon Web Services, filed a lawsuit in November alleging the Defense Department failed to fairly judge its bid for the JEDI contract because Trump viewed Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos as his “political enemy.”Amazon’s lawsuit chronicles a laundry list of comments and actions by Trump and the Defense Department that it claims show the Pentagon bowed to political pressure when awarding the deal to Microsoft. In one case, Amazon cites claims in a book by Mattis’ former speechwriter, Guy Snodgrass, that Trump told Mattis in the summer of 2018 to “screw Amazon” by locking it out of the bid. Mattis has criticized the book.Amazon also mentions comments Trump made in July 2019 when he said he was looking “very seriously” at the cloud-computing contract, citing complaints from Microsoft, Oracle Corp. and International Business Machines Corp.Amazon Web Services is seeking additional material to present to the judge, including “facts not currently known or accessible to AWS demonstrating exactly how President Trump’s order to ‘screw Amazon’ was carried out during the decision-making process,” the company’s filing said.Also on Monday, Microsoft filed two separate motions asking the court to dismiss many of Amazon’s bias allegations and block the company from seeking additional evidence. Microsoft argued in court papers that it had won the JEDI procurement because it submitted a cheaper and “technically superior” bid and not because of political interference by Trump.“AWS has alleged zero facts-- nothing -- plausibly indicating any DOD official involved in the JEDI procurement, at any level, was actually influenced by the alleged anti-Bezos statements,” Microsoft wrote.The president has long criticized Bezos over everything from the shipping rates his company pays the U.S. Postal Service to his ownership of the Washington Post. In December 2015, Bezos joked on Twitter about wanting to send Trump to space.Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer, has said that as far as he knows, no one from the White House reached out to any members of the JEDI cloud contract selection team.While no law prohibits a president from weighing in on a contract, federal agencies must choose vendors based on the technical criteria outlined in their requests for proposals, not opinions from politicians, according to procurement officials.In order to win Trump’s testimony in this case, Amazon would have to offer evidence that he followed up on his public comments about Amazon with private instructions to the officials running the procurement, said Charles Tiefer, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law.The judge could still grant Amazon permission to obtain more communications between the White House and the Pentagon about the contractwithout giving permission to conduct the depositions, Tiefer said.Letting a losing bidder depose a sitting president “may have not have been seen before,” Tiefer said. Yet “it’s far from impossible.”(Updates with Microsoft motion, starting in eleventh paragraph)\--With assistance from Daniel Seiden.To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at nnix1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Paula DwyerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Snowflake Vaults to $12 Billion Valuation, Partners with Salesforce

    (Bloomberg) -- Snowflake Inc., a maker of cloud-based databases, raised $479 million in its latest funding round, boosting the company’s valuation to $12.4 billion. It also announced a strategic partnership with Salesforce.com Inc.Snowflake sells a type of database that compiles information from various sources so it can be analyzed. The company competes against Amazon.com Inc.’s Redshift product as well as those from industry stalwart Oracle Corp., which has stumbled in the cloud-computing market. Snowflake’s use among clients more than tripled in 2019, making it the fastest-growing cloud-based business software product, according to Okta Inc.’s annual Business @ Work report last month. Snowflake’s new valuation will boost it to No. 13 among global startups, according to data from CB Insights. The company previously was valued at $3.9 billion.The increased valuation came about as part of the new relationship with Salesforce, Frank Slootman, Snowflake’s chief executive officer, said Friday in an interview. “They want to invest in the company as a condition of the partnership,” he said. “They want to benefit from the upside from them being a partner.”Salesforce Ventures, the investment arm of the customer-relations software maker, and Dragoneer Investment Group, which led the fundraising, each contributed half of the round, he said.Slootman said the company recently added two new female board members, Kelly Kramer, the chief financial officer of Cisco Systems Inc., and Teresa Briggs, a former executive at Deloitte LLP. Snowflake is preparing to make the leap to the public markets by the end of 2021, Slootman said.Existing Snowflake backers, including Altimeter Capital, Iconiq Capital, Madrona Venture Group and others, are expected to participate in another investment closing “within the next few weeks,” according to Snowflake.Snowflake said its alliance with Salesforce will involve products, marketing and sales efforts. It will release further details on the relationship in June. Slootman said that Salesforce and Snowflake will make it easier to transfer data between their systems, a process he currently describes as “clunky, slow, and expensive.”In some past instances, Salesforce has eventually acquired portfolio companies. To contact the author of this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Pollack at apollack1@bloomberg.net, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Larry Ellison Hits the High Seas With Endeavor in Sailing Deal

    (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Larry Ellison is selling an ownership stake in the professional sailing league he co-founded to Endeavor, the Hollywood talent agency and media business led by Ari Emanuel.The deal values the two-year-old SailGP, which Ellison created with five-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts, at $200 million. Neither side would disclose the size of Endeavor’s stake.Coutts said Endeavor, whose sports properties include the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has expertise in media rights, production, licensing and sponsorship that would help SailGP grow globally.“Last year we were a complete startup,” Coutts said in an interview. “Endeavor gives us so much more capability to fast-track expansion.”SailGP is scheduled to begin its second season Feb. 28 in Sydney, where seven countries will field teams. The circuit staged five events last season, and subsequently added teams from Denmark and Spain. SailGP will feature five events this season, and is exploring the possibility of another in the Middle East.Endeavor’s sports properties also include the Professional Bull Riders. Last month, Endeavor acquired On Location Experiences, a high-end events business that’s part-owned by the National Football League.On Location offers luxury travel, accommodations, and experiences like on-field access at the Super Bowl and international sports events. The company has eyed international expansion to link with major events and rights holders like the Olympics, FIFA and Formula One racing.Ellison is the world’s 11th-richest person, with a net worth of $61.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The Oracle Corp. co-founder started SailGP after his America’s Cup run ended in 2017. His Oracle team won the cup in 2010 and 2013.The plan calls for Ellison to underwrite SailGP until it becomes commercially viable. SailGP then would move to a franchise model.Unlike the America’s Cup, all the boats in SailGP are identical. In an effort to reduce costs, teams share a number of services, including design.SailGP added sponsors during the offseason, including chemical company Ineos Group Holdings SA, which was founded by billionaire Jim Ratcliffe. Ineos has sponsored an America’s Cup team. Building-products maker Rockwool International A/S also signed on as a SailGP sponsor, joining Rolex.“This is fast-paced. It’s nation-versus-nation. It’s a global championship,” Coutts said. “This has changed the perception of what sailing can be.”To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Soshnick in New York at ssoshnick@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net, John J. Edwards III, Rob GolumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Oracle Hospitality Takes Hotel and Vendor Gripes Seriously At Last
    Skift

    Oracle Hospitality Takes Hotel and Vendor Gripes Seriously At Last

    When it comes to providing tech services to hotels, has Oracle Hospitality turned over a new leaf? In the past year, new leadership has stirred hopes among global hotel groups, hotel management companies, and hotel software vendors that Oracle Hospitality would stop acting spastic. Hotels, especially higher-end hotels with the most ambition, have delivered trenchant […]

  • Bloomberg

    CIA Opens Competition for Lucrative Cloud Deals to Amazon Rivals

    (Bloomberg) -- The Central Intelligence Agency is planning to hire multiple companies for lucrative cloud computing deals in a new program that will give rivals a chance to take on market leader Amazon.com Inc.The U.S. government posted draft requirements this week for new CIA contracts that aim to build on commercial cloud capabilities the intelligence community first gained through a $600 million contract awarded to Amazon in 2013, according to documents presented to industry and obtained by Bloomberg News.Microsoft Corp., International Business Machines Corp. and Oracle Corp. are catching up to Amazon with new technical offerings, public-sector clients and federal security authorizations and are likely to submit bids. The CIA initiative likely will dramatically expand the federal cloud market, which is becoming more competitive.Using commercial cloud service providers, rather than developing those services in-house, has proven to be a faster way to meet the intelligence community’s needs and to “facilitate the adoption of innovation happening in the commercial marketplace,” the government said in the proposal.The CIA and Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Under the Commercial Cloud Enterprise initiative, or C2E, the CIA will make multiple awards to companies providing cloud computing infrastructure and cloud-based software, according to the documents. The initiative calls for tech companies to host data with varying security requirements, including unclassified, secret and top secret, according to the documents.Bidders will be judged on a range of factors including their global reach, innovation, and “operational excellence,” according to the documents.The government said the contracts could last up to 15 years with a five-year base period and two five-year renewals. The estimated award date is September 2020.The CIA has previously indicated that it intended to spend “tens of billions” of dollars on cloud computing, Bloomberg has reported. It’s unclear whether the agency has finalized an amount it plans to spend.The agency has long touted the benefits from its 2013 deal with Amazon, which was described as ”transformational” by Sean Roche, the CIA’s associate deputy director of digital innovation. It also won praise from former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.The draft requirements outline CIA plans to implement a “multicloud ecosystem,” likely avoiding some of the criticism the Pentagon faced from industry players when it decided to award the highly-lucrative Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud computing contract to just one company.“In a multi-cloud ecosystem, the government will gain advantages from use of each” cloud service provider’s “unique area of investment in technology, cybersecurity strategy, and best practices,” according to the proposal.In October, Microsoft beat Amazon for the JEDI contract, which is worth as much as $10 billion over a decade. Amazon has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, arguing that it lost because President Donald Trump interfered.In 2018, Microsoft won a deal to let 17 intelligence agencies use Azure Government, a cloud service tailored for federal and local governments.IBM and Oracle have also recently gained new federal security authorizations, clearing the companies to handle more sensitive government workloads.To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at nnix1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Gregory MottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Koch Industries Buys the Rest of Software Maker Infor
    Bloomberg

    Koch Industries Buys the Rest of Software Maker Infor

    (Bloomberg) -- The private investment arm of Koch Industries Inc., run by billionaire Charles Koch, has acquired the remaining equity in cloud-software maker Infor Inc., the companies said.The deal values Infor at $11 billion, or nearly $13 billion including preferred shares, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private information.  Koch Industries, the Wichita, Kansas-based conglomerate, already owned about 70% of Infor, the company said. Its subsidiary Koch Equity Development LLC purchased the remaining Infor equity it didn’t already own from Golden Gate Capital. Infor, which Wall Street has viewed as a candidate for an upcoming initial public offering, will become a Koch Industries subsidiary. The move to buy Infor underscores Koch Industries’ continued push into technology, a relatively new priority for a sprawling conglomerate best known for refineries, paper goods, and other industrial products—along with the libertarian and conservative views of its CEO and his brother David, who died last year.In 2013, Koch Industries, which brings in $110 billion in annual revenue, bought electronics component maker Molex for $7.2 billion. And three years ago it launched a venture capital arm, Koch Disruptive Technologies, run by Charles’s son, Chase. That venture division has made investments in companies such as enterprise software startup D2iQ and 3D-printing company Desktop Metal.“Investment in Infor is a great platform to continue in that space,” said Jim Hannan, the executive who runs the enterprises division of Koch Industries. A range of Koch businesses already use Infor’s tools, Hannan said, adding, “It doesn’t matter whether you’re making paper towels or fertilizer or anything else.” Infor, a competitor to companies like Oracle Corp. and SAP SE with annual revenue of about $3.2 billion, makes software that is specialized by industry, including manufacturing, government, health care and retail. Its fastest-growing product is its software-as-a-service business, which allows customers to use software held remotely instead of maintaining it in their own data centers.Koch Equity Development first took a $2 billion stake in Infor in 2017, and topped it up with another $1.5 billion a year ago. Infor had been considering an IPO, and according its chief executive officer, Kevin Samuelson, hasn’t ruled out that possibility for the future. But Samuelson said the acquisition route was more immediately appealing because of Koch Industries’ robust balance sheet, with its clout that could potentially enable Infor to make further acquisitions of its own. Of the Koch Industries bid, Samuelson said, “Just the access to capital, the IT perspective, working with someone who started as a customer—this was the right outcome.”Infor’s market share in enterprise software is about 6%, according to the research firm IDC, making it third after SAP and Oracle. Gartner Inc., another researcher, placed both its 2018 market share and its growth rate at 5%. Infor said its software-as-a-service unit would be on track for about $800 million in annual revenue, if its last month’s revenue held steady for the following year. That unit is also growing at more than 20% annually, Samuelson said.Infor, founded in 2002, has grown both organically and through acquisitions. It bought GT Nexus for $675 million in 2015. (Adds context on the valuation in the second paragraph.)\--With assistance from Ed Hammond.To contact the author of this story: Sarah McBride in San Francisco at smcbride24@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anne VanderMey at avandermey@bloomberg.net, Michael HythaLiana BakerTom GilesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    Oracle adds cloud data centers in five countries, sets new 2020 target

    Oracle Corp said on Monday it had added new cloud computing data centers in five countries and aims to have them in 36 locations by the end of 2020, as it races with Amazon.com and Microsoft Corp for market share. After a rocky start in the cloud business, Oracle, a longtime business software provider, is rolling out its second generation of cloud systems, in which it operates data centers and customers rent capacity from it. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft are the two top players with more than two-thirds of the global market in 2019, according to Forrester Research, but Oracle is trying to win customers by extending its geographical reach.

  • Bloomberg

    It’s Only February and We’re Already Miserable

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- February can feel like no man’s land. The holidays are over and the weather is crummy. The gentlest iPhone chime sounds like a bugle call in the morning and you need two Americanos to have a civil conversation. Over the past week or so, you’ve been holed up in your cramped apartment and your inbox is overflowing with alerts about the spread of a deadly virus. Like 84% of the population, you’re probably stressed, according to a recent study by Cigna Corp. and Asia Care Group.The cost of burnout is no longer just emotional. The global economy loses $1 trillion a year in productivity as a result of depression and anxiety, the World Health Organization found. While the U.S. puts $133.2 billion, or 4% of its annual health expenditure, toward treatment, that proportion reaches 19% in Australia, 18% in Singapore and 17.6% in Hong Kong, Cigna says.The good news is that there’s a solution, and it’s cheap. The bad news is that it’s difficult. After years of considering mental health to be a personal affliction, focus is turning to the role employers can play. The type of changes needed – better communication and support from managers, for example – require a shift in attitude more than financial resources. In Asia, however, the very wokefulness that’s made mental health a priority for Fortune 500 CEOs and U.S. presidential candidates is uncomfortable territory.“My family never, ever talked about this topic. It’s a taboo,” said Deborah Seah, a 38-year-old Singaporean who lived with bipolar disorder for more than two decades before it was diagnosed. As a girl of eight, she recalls going to the kitchen of her family’s high-rise apartment in the middle of the night, looking out the 11-story window and fighting the urge to jump.More than 90% of people in Asia say they’re stressed, and eight out of 10 feel like they operate in an “always on” culture. These can be early symptoms of burnout, which is marked by chronic exhaustion, cynicism and detachment from your work, as well as feelings of ineffectiveness.Seah experienced her first burnout episode in 2016, while working at an academic institution. She recalls the rising levels of stress as managers kept pushing work on her plate. She also felt pressure to keep her mental condition under wraps because colleagues gossiped viciously. Managers who knew of Seah’s struggles urged her to stay quiet.Seah remembers breaking into sobs in the washroom, hoping no one would see, and coming home to dinner, where she would erupt into screams. Her husband begged her to quit her job, but she couldn’t let go: “I didn’t want to give up my career,” she said. Seah eventually admitted herself to Singapore’s mental-health institute when she began to feel suicidal. Successive burnout episodes were equally dramatic, with daily panic attacks, hot and cold flashes, uncontrollable shivering and the inability to get out of bed.Beyond social stigmas, Asia’s often inflexible work culture can be a hurdle, too. In a recent survey of Hong Kong employees by Deacons, a law firm, 65% of respondents cited long hours as their primary concern, closely followed by “domineering” senior management and uncommunicative bosses.The trouble is, even flexible work arrangements have their pitfalls. Ben,(1) 43, started his career in public relations in London, and moved to Singapore in 2013. He struggled with depression and anxiety after his father and half-brother died unexpectedly within less than a year of each other. He was relieved to get a transfer to Hong Kong for a change of pace, and was initially encouraged by the corporatespeak about working from home and unlimited vacation time.Very quickly, Ben found that working anywhere meant working all the time. He was pulling 12-hour days and putting in time on weekends; he compulsively checked his phone for messages. A much-anticipated trip with his wife to the tropical island of Flores, east of Bali, was spent on a deck chair: “I saw it over a laptop,” he recalls.It also became apparent that making a big transition during a period of emotional strain was a bad idea. When Ben asked for help with his workload, his manager said he should be able to cope. As the demands increased, Ben’s symptoms became physical: He lost weight, his cheeks hollowed and his skin turned ashen. One day, he simply couldn’t get up, and stayed bedridden for a week.Though Ben worked for a U.S.-based company, he felt caught between Asia’s cultural expectation of being in the office and the 24/7 demands of his industry. “When I was working in London, our general rule was if you saw someone working late regularly, you would take them aside and say, ‘Hey what’s going on? What’s wrong?’ whereas in Asia, it’s celebrated much more.”Ben eventually decided to leave his job and took seven months off. Now he does contract work in the marketing-services industry, and tries to stick to a four-day week.In 2018, Gallup Inc., a market-research company, looked at the main causes of burnout, as well as what employers and managers can do. What’s striking is how simple some of the solutions appear to be: Employees whose managers are willing to listen to their work-related problems are 62% less likely to be burned out, and those who have the opportunity to do projects where they excel are 57% less likely to experience frequent episodes, the study found. Does a trillion-dollar problem really come down to intangibles such as making work purposeful, promoting teamwork and giving positive feedback?Seah, the Singaporean, eventually left her job, and now works as an executive assistant at Oracle Corp. In her application, she included her volunteer work as an ambassador at “Beyond the Label,” a government initiative to raise awareness about mental health. Seah marvels at the California-based company’s openness to her condition and the willingness to let her work from home. “The approach and attitude of my manager makes a whole world of difference.”The workplaces of the future should not only better equip its managers with soft skills, but give employees the time and space to care for themselves. Think about it: With people working well into their 70s, careers can plausibly span half a century; a recent study puts the age of peak unhappiness smack in the middle, at 47.2. The key to heading off burnout, then, may be clearing your calendar. The Wall Street Journal recently chronicled the experience of one insurance executive who took a two-year sabbatical. The break actually accelerated her progress: She returned to work and became a CEO.For those who can’t afford to put their paychecks on pause, even mini breaks or meditation can help. One Singaporean-based app, MindFi, has breathing exercises that even allow skeptics like me to keep their eyes open. Managing stress this way should be natural in cities like Hong Kong and Singapore. After all, “Asia is the home of meditation,” says Bjorn Lee, MindFi’s founder. “What happened?”There’s perhaps no better time to put these tools to work. The spread of the coronavirus has produced stress triggers that are both extraordinary (with thousands of confirmed cases) and mundane (it’s more difficult to get your Starbucks coffee). With millions of people on lockdown, companies from HSBC Holdings Plc to Facebook Inc. have asked staff to work from home. The novelty of wearing your pajamas all day can wear off quickly when you’re squinting at a tiny laptop screen and keeping your toddler’s sticky fingers off the keyboard. But if you’re safe and virus-free, this could be a welcome opportunity for a deep breath. A baby showed up on one of my video conferences last week — I can’t imagine I’m the only one who cracked a smile. (1) Ben asked that we keep out his surname.To contact the author of this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at mbrooker1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Rachel Rosenthal is an editor with Bloomberg Opinion. Previously, she was a markets reporter and editor at the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • The Crypto Mogul Who’s Got the Ear of China’s Central Bank
    Bloomberg

    The Crypto Mogul Who’s Got the Ear of China’s Central Bank

    (Bloomberg) -- Leon Li is the rarest of Chinese crypto magnates -- one who’s won Beijing’s backing. The founder of Huobi Group is now set to play a pivotal role in China’s effort to build a homegrown crypto-industry.The former Oracle Corp. coder, who started one of the world’s largest Bitcoin exchanges six years ago, enjoys unusual access to China’s central bank and government officials thanks to methodical engagement and measured expansion. While rivals Binance and OKEx irked regulators by stoking Bitcoin mania, Li curried favor by discouraging speculation, co-founding the country’s first state-backed blockchain platform along the way. Huobi even set up a Communist Party committee in-house -- a first for any crypto firm.That’s why, keen to explore homegrown alternatives to Facebook Inc.’s Libra and a Western-led blockchain, Chinese central bank and government officials are turning to Li -- among others -- to help develop a local blueprint for crypto supremacy. The still-nascent blockchain arena offers the world’s second-largest economy a rare chance to become an early influencer. Washington’s concerted campaign to contain China has only strengthened Beijing’s resolve to wean itself off American technology.“Once in a lifetime,” said Li, a bookish-looking 36-year-old with thick black glasses. “It’s my hope that we’ll not just be a participant but a driver, even the leader of blockchain history.”Read more: Why China’s Rushing to Mint Its Own Digital Currency: QuickTakeLi co-founded Huobi in the fall of 2013 and later received backing from well-connected ZhenFund and Sequoia China. But the tale of how he and Huobi came to occupy its privileged position really begins in 2017, at the height of Beijing’s paranoia about the potential for unchecked Bitcoin speculation to foment social upheaval.Word trickled down to Li in the summer of that year that officials were preparing a major crackdown on the industry. His instinct was to rush back from medical leave and instruct his team to get Huobi’s almost 2 million registered users to withdraw their funds. But he also began delivering daily progress reports to local regulators and briefed officials whenever requested.Watching his counterparts collapse like dominoes, he realized that regulators meant life-or-death in his world. Li’s since made it his mission to get on Beijing’s good side, from hosting seminars and classes for officials to organizing conferences under the auspices of local government.In addition to consulting for the People’s Bank of China on Libra, Huobi more recently threw itself behind research into blockchain applications that serve the real economy -- a passion project of President Xi Jinping. It’s one of 14 founding members of China’s first state-backed blockchain platform -- an effort led by the country’s top economic planner that will power everything from storing digital contracts to tracing food and drug deliveries. Other members include state enterprises like China Telecom Corp. and China UnionPay Co.“Huobi could play an important role in the local crypto industry, because authorities would probably prefer to see trade go through an entity that they trust, rather than being pushed underground,” said Emily Parker, co-founder of Asia-focused blockchain data site and incubator LongHash. Good relations with Beijing “could be viewed as a sign of stability, as well as a local advantage over a company like Binance, which does not appear to enjoy the same level of trust.”Those years of cultivation paid off during a late-2019 clampdown. While Binance and its co-founder got tossed off Chinese microblogging site Weibo and other outfits got shut down, Huobi emerged unscathed. As the crackdown wound down in December, Li hosted a days-long conference on the fast-liberalizing southern island of Hainan that serves as his second base after Beijing, in a show of support for local government efforts to become a global hub for blockchain technology.At the event, Li pledged to lend his company’s cloud and blockchain expertise to nations participating in Xi’s signature Belt and Road Initiative, and called on his country to counter Libra. “From the perspective of safeguarding national financial sovereignty, autonomy and control are really important issues,” he told delegates. “Can we rely on ourselves to build something as good as Libra?”A spokeswoman for Binance said its larger user base is among its key advantages over Huobi. OKEx representatives declined to comment for this story.Read more: From Pigs to Party Fealty, China Harnesses Blockchain PowerIn the years since Binance and other competitors fled China, Huobi was one of the few major crypto businesses that stayed put and thrived. True, he moved Huobi’s main exchange business to Singapore. But the company’s blockchain consultancy and training arm, Huobi China, remains in-country and around 100 staffers work out of sleek offices built on reclaimed wasteland on Hainan.That unit -- which the company says is profitable -- has instructed more than 1,000 students from Party cadres to executives at state-owned and private companies. Huobi’s own senior executives, Li included, are based in Beijing, as are key teams from coding to business development. His exchange is estimated to have raked in roughly $680 million in revenue for 2019, according to Bloomberg calculations of data by Huobi on token buybacks.Success has come at a cost of personal freedom for Li, who was born into a working-class family in central China and graduated from Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University -- Xi’s alma mater. After China shut down exchange trading, the heads of Chinese crypto platforms were reported to have been banned from departing the country. Li said he’s never received any official notice prohibiting him from leaving China but he’s chosen not to, unsure of the risks that would entail.In the longer term, his company’s closeness with Beijing could also be a liability.“Huobi may be aiming for a global leadership role in the industry by molding to regulatory requirements,” said Matthew Graham, chief executive officer of Sino Global Capital, a Beijing-based blockchain consultancy. “Certainly one risk is that this could lead to a loss of trust with overseas customers.”To contact the reporters on this story: Zheping Huang in Hong Kong at zhuang245@bloomberg.net;Colum Murphy in Beijing at cmurphy270@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Edwin ChanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • These Are the Fastest-Growing Business Apps
    Bloomberg

    These Are the Fastest-Growing Business Apps

    (Bloomberg) -- Snowflake Inc.’s database software has emerged in an annual report as the fastest-growing cloud-based software program, signaling strong corporate demand for modern tools to help analyze data.Snowflake’s use among clients more than tripled in 2019, software maker Okta Inc. said Tuesday in its annual Businesses @ Work report, which tracks the popularity of corporate software. Atlassian Corp.’s Opsgenie tool took the No. 2 spot as fastest-growing, with a gain of 194%. Alphabet Inc.’s Google Cloud came in third place and Splunk Inc. in fourth.The cloud applications market generated $121 billion of revenue in 2018, according to research firm IDC. The infrastructure market, where Google Cloud competes, produced $36 billion in annual revenue, the firm said.Snowflake makes cloud-based data warehouses, a type of database that compiles information from various sources so it can be analyzed. The company competes against Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud division and database stalwarts such as Oracle Corp. The San Mateo, California-based startup is considering going public, although the chief executive officer has said the the earliest the company could be ready for such a move would be this summer.Opsgenie makes incident management software that notifies workers about critical issues to reduce or avoid service downtime. Todd McKinnon, the chief executive officer of Okta, said the types of software on the list represent a departure from the traditional business applications that topped the survey in previous years, such as office communications platform Slack Technologies Inc. and videoconferencing company Zoom Video Communications Inc.“This was the first year where the fastest-growing things were infrastructure tools or security tools,” McKinnon said in an interview. “It’s a natural coming of age. We’ve put a bunch of apps in place. Now you have to make sure they’re secure, that users aren’t being phished, that you’re using the data in those apps for insights.”The most popular corporate apps overall, by unique monthly active users, are Microsoft Corp.’s Office 365, Workday Inc. and ServiceNow Inc. Google’s G Suite and Salesforce.com Inc. round out the top five.Increasingly, corporate developer teams are buying work tools independent of their IT organizations. The most popular developer software is the Atlassian Product Suite, Okta said. It was followed by Microsoft Corp.’s GitHub, PagerDuty Inc., New Relic Inc., and the newly public Datadog Inc.Okta crunches these numbers based on data from its 7,500 customers, which use the software to securely log into various tech systems. The report presents and analyzes data from Nov. 1, 2018, to Oct. 31, 2019.(Updates with additional details in eighth paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the full name of Snowflake Inc. in the first paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Is Oracle Corporation’s (NYSE:ORCL) 17% ROCE Any Good?
    Simply Wall St.

    Is Oracle Corporation’s (NYSE:ORCL) 17% ROCE Any Good?

    Today we'll evaluate Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment...

  • Nextdoor CEO: Here’s why I met with Mike Pompeo
    Yahoo Finance

    Nextdoor CEO: Here’s why I met with Mike Pompeo

    In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday, Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar confirmed her attendance at a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

  • Oracle Hospitality’s New Boss Sees Gaps in Its Hotel Tech Portfolio
    Skift

    Oracle Hospitality’s New Boss Sees Gaps in Its Hotel Tech Portfolio

    When Oracle acquired Micros six years ago for $4.6 billion. it gained virtually overnight the largest share of the hotel operations software market worldwide. Yet the merger faltered. So the company has looked to a series of leaders to help the unit regain its mojo. In November, Oracle drafted Alex Alt to be the top […]

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