Oracle, Patents and the Acquisition Trail

In the wake of Oracle’s (s orcl) decision to sue Google (s goog) over the alleged patent infringement within Android, I came across a post from ERP Blogger Stephen Jannise that was helpful in placing this action in the context of a bigger IP strategy. After some crystal-ball-gazing, Jannise came up with a list of companies that could be potential targets for Oracle, the thesis being that the Sun acquisition shows Oracle isn’t afraid of making big deals in unexpected areas, and based on this, it will continue a strategy of buying large companies to build a war chest of IP.

Jannise has built a list of 13 potential targets based on researching the past five years of Oracle acquisitions, as well as current market dynamics. As he points out, beginning in late 2004 with its acquisition of PeopleSoft, Oracle has acquired over 40 companies. During that time, Oracle has made five multi-billion-dollar acquisitions, showing that it’s comfortable with big ticket buys. Oracle has shown that it’s keen to assert its IP rights with its current litigation and will use that strategy while it continues to build its IP reserves through acquisition.

Jannise created the following chart to analyze Oracle’s acquisition patterns thus far:

Along with the chart comes a survey asking users to pick from a list of potential targets. While it’s very much a case of trying to predict the future, Oracle is ramping up the aggression of its strategy. Because of this, my pick would be for Oracle to make some big bold moves: Juniper Networks (s jnpr), (s crm) or Allscripts (s mdrx) look like good fits from the list.

The Google lawsuit, while big news right now, is indicative of one thing: Oracle aims to dominate the IT industry, and it will do whatever it needs to in order to achieve that aim. As we pointed out in an earlier post:

Oracle is greedy and Oracle isn’t stupid

Its assertion of ownership over something formerly considered open should be seen in this light, and future acquisitions will attempt to extend these aims.

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Ben Kepes is an independent consultant and contributing writer for GigaOM. Please see his disclosure statement in his bio.