Oracle Strategy Coming into Focus with Tekelec Deal
Acquisition of carrier-focused vendor gives Oracle network signaling, policy control and subscriber data management. What does it mean for the enterprise?
Oracle made another major move toward assembling its communications strategy today, announcing the acquisition of carrier vendor Tekelec, less than two months after acquiring Acme Packet.
Terms of the Tekelec deal were not disclosed; Oracle agreed to pay about $2 billion for Acme Packet.
The Tekelec acquisition seems very complementary to the Acme Packet buy; both companies provide equipment for service providers to run their networks. Acme Packet's session border controllers (SBCs) secure and manage connections between diverse networks, while Tekelec manufactures signaling, policy control and subscriber data management for carriers.
The Oracle announcement states:
"The proliferation of smart devices, mobile applications, and connected services has led to an exponential increase in network signaling and data traffic. Service providers require intelligent network control technologies to address these increased network workloads as well as to deploy and monetize cloud and over-the-top services."
Oracle also explicitly called out the relevance of Acme Packet to the Tekelec deal:
"By combining Tekelec with leading capabilities from Oracle Communications and Acme Packet, Oracle expects to provide the most complete communications offering that will enable service providers to engage with customers, improve operations, control network resources and deploy innovative communications services."
The following slide from Oracle's announcement presentation is a good overview of the product set that Oracle will boast in the carrier space, based on these last two major acquisitions:
While the Tekelec acquisition makes it clear that the Acme Packet deal was primarily about Acme's carrier business rather than enterprise SBCs, the above figure also offers an intriguing glimpse into how Oracle may yet be positioning itself for the enterprise communications market--and it's very different from what we're seeing from traditional enterprise communications vendors.
The column at far right, labeled "End User Applications," shows how Oracle could position itself as a fully cloud-based alternative to Microsoft for the next generation of Unified Communications. By delivering email, presence, instant messaging and calendar, among others, from a carrier platform that's tightly integrated with carrier back-office systems, Oracle could be well-positioned to provision networks for service providers who want to sell a full suite of cloud-based communications services to enterprises--using the enterprise SBC as their demarc/point of integration with internal enterprise systems.
That's all fairly speculative, of course, and as I read it over, the phrase that sounds the most speculative is "service providers who want to sell a full suite of cloud-based communications services to enterprises..." The stumbling block to broad enterprise-targeted services from providers, especially from mobile operators, has been simply their relative lack of interest in this market. They prefer to chase consumer dollars, and capabilities like Tekelec's could help build the back-office for such services--the operators could simply decide to use them as a way to monetize consumer services and over-the-top (OTT) offeings that currently are deployed by other entities like Skype. They could well continue to feel that the enterprise isn't really worth the effort.
Still, Oracle will bear watching as it moves to become a serious player in communications--at the carrier level, at least for now.