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Oracle To Buy RightNow for $1.5 Billion

Oracle today said it has agreed to acquire RightNow Technologies Inc. for $1.5 billion. The deal comes less than a week after Oracle agreed to acquire enterprise search vendor Endeca.

RightNow is a provider of cloud-based customer service applications. Used by customer service agents, RightNow's Customer Service Cloud lies within the shadow of Salesforce.com's Service Cloud, though RightNow claims it has 2,000 customers. RightNow provides customer service via the Web, social networks and call centers.

At its OpenWorld conference in San Francisco earlier this month, Oracle signaled it plans to become more aggressive in building a portfolio of cloud-based platforms and services, where the company launched Oracle Public Cloud.

Oracle has had a long and heated rivalry with Salesfore.com, whose software as a service customer relationship management portfolio competes with Oracle's own suite of applications and CRM software. By acquiring RightNow, Oracle picks up a key challenger to Salesforce.com.

"Oracle is moving aggressively to offer customers a full range of cloud solutions including sales force automation, human resources, talent management, social networking, databases and Java as part of the Oracle Public Cloud," said Oracle executive VP Thomas Kurian, in a statement. "RightNow's leading customer service cloud is a very important addition to Oracle's Public Cloud."

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison exchanged barbs with each other earlier this month, both accusing the other of locking customers into their respective offerings.

Nevertheless, Salesforce.com is on a run-rate to gross $2.2 billion in revenues this year, while RightNow, which has forecast revenues for this year to reach $226 million.  

The deal, approved by RightNow's board, is set to close by early next year, pending shareholder and regulatory approval.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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