Oracle acquires a million lines of code

May 26th, 2010 by Roy Russo

Yesterday, Oracle announced the acquisition of long-time Marketing Automation vendor, Market2Lead. The acquisition marks the first in the space by a major player in the CRM market, and a public company. Although many of the pundits have suggested a coming wave of acquisitions, I’m not so bullish on that transpiring any time soon as we are living in an economy that’s in the doldrums and are working in a space that’s overcrowded and growing slowly (less than 5% penetration to-date, according to Forrester). Good/Healthy acquisitions don’t happen on this setting.

So let’s paint the picture with our reality brush…

Oracle acquires a company’s IP, throws up a one-line blurb on their site, and releases no further details on the move. So we have no big PR announcement, no big analyst briefing… nothing, nada, niente. The company never took a round of funding and seemed to have stalled on growth over the last few years.

Now that the picture is painted (it’s really more like a doodle), it should be pretty clear that this thing was not Oracle buying a winner in the space for its customers and wanting to extend its reach. This was Oracle buying quicker time-to-market for tech they can integrate in to their offering. Tech-buys are low-dollar, scuttle-the-ship acquisitions, by nature.

We don’t care about your customers or your revenue, because it’s insignificant.

We want your bits and bytes. Everyone can go work at Wal-Mart, now.

Kind Regards,


Here’s why the acquisition does matter to the rest of us (in the short-run):

  • If Oracle can integrate this thing in to their offering and make it work, now we have a major player in the CRM market with true Marketing Automation capabilities. Oracle is very good at acquiring, and integrating companies. If they can make MA grow within their product-line, that is a signal to other players to start buying. Will that push in to a buy? SFDC seems to only buy Java, so there are slim pickings in this market… who knows? (Did I mention LoopFuse was built on Java?)
  • This is a sign of things to come… sort of. Jep Castelein and David Raab point to the fact that the space is overcrowded. The herd will be thinned, and I believe the shake-out will look more like this over the next couple of years. Those executing, innovating, and performing well will carve out their niches, all others will either go belly-up or get acquired for assets. The potential market is enormous, larger than the CRM market, so there will be room for several players at the top (LoopFuse is one of those and maybe Eloqua) ;-) .
  • Expanding on #2 above. Look for Email Marketing and Web Analytics vendors to gobble-up some Marketing Automation players. The world is moving away from batch-n-blast marketing and simple Web Analytics tracking. MA is the future. A few years ago, my old stomping grounds SilverPop (Hi, Bill!) acquired vTrenz. Expect more of that in the next 2-3 years. Again, these are mostly tech-buys.

Personally I believe this to be a non-event in the immediate and short-run. The impact may be felt in the long-run, once Oracle re-brands and integrates this thing.


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