I know you all know enough to ignore the PR boilerplate claim that comes at the end of every press release and often gets picked up by rookie journalists or lazy bloggers that don't know any better. The one I've always found most extraordinary just got picked up in a notice I saw from Clark University, the alma mater of one of my kids.
In a notice that said a Clark alumna who works for Oracle will be speaking on campus, the blogger said:
Oracle is the world's largest enterprise software company. The company develops."
That claim is so incredibly just pure Oracle bombast that I have never called the company on it. The couple of times I've thought about it, I've decided not to get into arguing with Oracle about some convoluted parsing where its PR folks will claim that Oracle sells exclusively to enterprises, unlike Microsoft, or that it sells nothing but software, unlike IBM. That's the only rationalization I can think of.
No matter that Microsoft sells four times as much software to enterprises as Oracle (as measured by worldwide revenue) even though it also sells mice to anyone that wants one and Xboxes to teenagers. Or that IBM sells at least 25 percent more software to enterprises than Oracle. Or that Oracle itself provides IT services in the same way as Perot and is therefore not exclusively selling software. (The information I'm quoting is submitted under penalty of doing jail time to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.)
I notice that recently Oracle has started saying on its Web site that is the "world's largest business software company," instead of "enterprise software company." Wonder what that nit change is all about? And in the promotional piece on its Web site intended to back up the claim, Oracle implies that maybe its metric is number of customers. Does IBM have more than 345,000 customers? I dunno!
The real good news is that I will not have to call Oracle on the claim or ever think about it again after Oracle acquires Sun. Unless the Oracle PR folks come up with some boilerplate such as
Oracle used to be the world's largest enterprise/business software company and still would be but we bought a hardware company.
And more important, by Oracle's methodology/metric, whatever it is, who will be the new "world's largest enterprise software company?"