A top apps list worth a look from Meldium

Tis the season of “top apps of the year” lists. Many are skippable. But this one compiled by password management company Meldium, now part of LogMeIn, caught my eye.

Based on the examination of usage data from “multiple tens of thousands” of users — the exact number wasn’t disclosed — Meldium came up with a list of the most popular applications across six categories — communication, collaboration, retail and service, sales and marketing, and social media.

Some results were hardly surprising: [company]Twitter[/company], for example, was undisputed overall champ and the champ within social media by far.

But a few results were more eyebrow-raising. In the dev tools category for instance, [company]Heroku[/company] got the top slot over perennial dev favorite [company]Github[/company]. No offense to Heroku, which is popular, but it just seems odd that it would have more users than Github, which as far as I know, pretty much every developer uses.

Chris Corde, Meldium’s director of products, agreed that this was surprising on the surface, but given that Meldium is designed to enable workgroups to securely share account credentials, it’s really not a shocker. Github users tend to have individual accounts even if they work in groups, while Heroku is particularly suited for groups of colleagues, Corde noted.

Other tools filling in the top five development tools category were Zapier, an API integration service; [company]Amazon[/company] Web Services Management Console; and Bitbucket’s free source code hosting.

It was also somewhat surprising to Corde that [company]GoDaddy[/company] won the retail and service category, but then again, a ton of accounts use that company’s DNS registration services.

Take a look at the whole post for other interesting tidbits, but the top-line results are below.

 Overall winners:

  1. Twitter
  2. MailChimp
  3. Gmail
  4. Amazon Web Services
  5. Mixpanel

Category winners

  1. Collaboration — MailChimp
  2. Dev tools — Heroku
  3. Retail and service — GoDaddy
  4. Sales and marketing — Salesforce.com
  5. Social media — Twitter
  6. Analytics — Mixpanel

Watchdog group urges FTC to scrutinize latest Oracle deal

The Center for Digital Democracy wants the Federal Trade Commission to really look over Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Datalogix, announced Monday morning.

The combined consumer data gathered by [company]Datalogix[/company] (via partnerships with [company]Facebook[/company] and [company]Twitter[/company] and other sources) along with Oracle’s earlier buyout of BlueKai, another data broker, may give [company]Oracle[/company] just a little too much consumer data for the public’s own good, according to the CDD.

In a quick phone interview, CDD Executive Director Jeff Chester said the regulatory agency needs to look at data privacy issues when considering the competitive aspects of such M&A activity. The CDD has a list of M&A deals that it says indicate a hastening consolidation of data aggregating companies including Axcient’s buy of Liveramp in May; Adobe Systems’ acquisition of Neolane in June 2013, and Oracle’s acquisitions of Eloqua in December 2012 and Responsys a year later..

Per an earlier emailed statement Chester said:

“Through the data it gathers on what we buy, and with its relationship with Facebook and other powerful marketers, Datalogix consists of a online treasure trove of data on Americans. The Oracle deal announced today follows its recent acquisition as well of Bluekai, which holds reams of information on consumers.”

The CDD also pointed out that under a previous settlement with the FTC, Facebook agreed to obtain consumers’ permission before sharing their data. The specter of that agreement surfaced when Facebook bought WhatsApp.

Chester also said:

“[Given] the FTC’s 20-year consent decree with Facebook, and the role that Datalogix plays with the social network, it also must review whether the deal requires additional safeguards under that decree. The growing consolidation of information on every American and whatever we do — regardless of location, time of day, whether we are online or off — should trigger action, as well as soul searching by both policymakers and the public.”

In August the CDD asked the FTC to look into the practices both of data brokers — including Datalogix and Acxiom as well as marketing software companies like Salesforce.com — to make sure they were complying with the Safe Harbor between the U.S. and European Union. That safe harbor provision lets these U.S. vendors “self-certify” that they are adhering to strong data protection standards.

Oracle hopes to use that data to inform its marketing automation software and “data cloud.” In that arena it competes competition with [company]Salesforce.com[/company], [company]Adobe Systems[/company] and others.

Oracle had no comment for this story.

Note: this story was updated at 11:25 a.m. PST with Jeff Chester’s comment and again at 11:51 a.m. PST with CDD’s list of data aggregator-linked mergers and acquisitions..

Oracle’s at it again: Acquires data broker Datalogix

Oracle continues to build its cloud-and-data arsenal, announcing its intention to buy Datalogix, a data marketing specialist that gleans consumer sentiment data via pacts with Facebook and Twitter and other sources.

In a statement, Datalogix said it aggregates information based on over “$2 trillion in consumer spending from 1,500 data partners across 110 million households to provide purchase-based targeting and drive more sales.” It also claims that 82 of the top 100 advertisers in the U.S. including Ford Motor Co. and Kraft Foods. In fact the availability of all that data has provoked concern at the consumer watchdog the Center for Digital Democracy which wants the Federal Trade Commission to  scrutinize this deal.

As companies in the consumer product goods, automotive and other industries try to reap the biggest possible advantage from social networks,  the data gathered by companies like Datalogix, Acxiom and Epsilon is seen as extremely valuable. This purchase comes 10 months after Oracle purchased Bluekai, another player in this data aggregation space.

The buy shows that the race to build marketing automation war chests between [company]Oracle[/company]  and [company]Salesforce. com [/company]– which over the past few years bought Buddy Media and ExactTarget  continues. But it’s no two-horse race: [company]Adobe Systems[/company] is also a major player via its acquisitions of Omniture and Neolane.

These software vendors clearly still see marketing as a key segment and Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) as strategic customers for the marketing suites they are putting together.

For its most recent quarter, Oracle claimed big growth in its cloud businesses.

oracle data cloud chart

Former cloud pariah Oracle claims stronger cloud sales

Oracle, which ramped up its cloud marketing and product rollouts over the past year, touted some encouraging signs for that business in its second quarter, ending November 30.

Revenue from [company]Oracle[/company] cloud products — which fall into what the Wall Street Journal called a “catchall category” — was up 45 percent year over year to $516 million. (Total Oracle revenue was up two percent to about $9.6 billion, from about $9.3 billion last year.)

Revenue from SaaS and PaaS sub-segments of cloud were $361 million, up 41 percent year over year, while IaaS revenue was $155 million, up 62 percent, CEO Safra Catz said on the company’s earnings call Wednesday night. (SeekingAlpha has the transcript.)

And, as usual, you can get a glimpse into what rivals [company]Oracle[/company] is most worried about by the comparisons company execs threw out. Said Catz, for example:

“Overall our cloud results were better than expected as we are clearly growing faster than [company]Salesforce.com [/company]and were more than three times the size of [company]Workday[/company].”

This was Oracle’s first earnings call since company founder Larry Ellison stepped down as CEO in September, ceding that slot to Catz and Mark Hurd.

Oracle 2Q FY 2015 earnings

Ellison, who is now chairman and CTO, sees more good things ahead:

“In Q2 we booked more than $170 million in new SaaS and PaaS annually recurring revenue or ARR. In other words, we sold over $170 million of new SaaS and PaaS annual subscriptions this past quarter.

In Q4 of this fiscal year, we expect to sell more than $250 million of new annual SaaS and PaaS subscriptions. That means, during our next fiscal year we will sell well over $1 billion of new SaaS and PaaS annual subscriptions.”

Later in the call, Ellison said the company expects to see “well in excess of $1 billion in new annual subscriptions … which is about what Salesforce[.com] will be selling in their next fiscal year. I think they are at $1.1 [billion] or something like that, best as we can estimate.”

Nomura Securities analyst Rick Sherlund was cautiously optimistic in a research note, which pointed out that the company still faces “a long transition period to the cloud.”

About 5 percent of total Oracle revenue currently come from those cloud businesses. He wrote:

“We  view this as an encouraging step along the way, but there are still risks of ongoing execution, margins are lower in the cloud, cash flow may be dampened by the need for higher capex to build out data centers as the cloud business scales up, and on-premises license revenues are likely in secular decline. But with stronger growth potential in the cloud, the risk/reward looks favorable to us”

Oracle’s got products, but are they cloud?

A nagging problem for the company, which is the leader by far in on-premises databases and is a giant in enterprise applications, is that many still don’t see Oracle’s cloud products as real cloud products. And here is why:

Oracle DbaaS price chart

Yes, Oracle offers its DbaaS by the hour, if that’s the way you want to purchase it. But, once you hit that “Buy Now” button, you have to make a phone call before you can set up an account. That doesn’t seem very self-service-y.

oracle dbaas slide2

Once the account is set up, presumably things get easier. Maybe this is a distinction without a difference, but I’m betting that people used to buying cloud resources would be shocked to encounter the screen above.

 

This story was updated at 11:49 a.m. PST to correct my assertion that Oracle DbaaS is not available by the hour. It is, as documented by the chart inserted above.

Ex-Heroku CEO Byron Sebastian joins the board at Codenvy

Byron Sebastian, the former CEO of Heroku who was most recently an executive vice president at Salesforce.com, is joining the board of directors at developer darling Codenvy. The company sells a cloud service, and software, that uses Docker containers to simplify the configuration, deployment and sharing of development environments. Sebastian, who has also held VP and CEO roles at BEA Systems and SourceLabs, respectively, left Salesforce.com in September 2012 to grow olives has yet to return to tech in a full-time capacity.