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Bitter rivals Oracle, Salesforce team up on cloud

An Oracle Corporation logo is seen on stage prior to the announcement of the company's latest SPARC servers at Oracle Conference Center in R
An Oracle Corporation logo is seen on stage prior to the announcement of the company's latest SPARC servers at Oracle Conference Center in R

By Jim Finkle

BOSTON (Reuters) - Oracle Corp, the technology giant losing market share to younger firms that sell software via the Web, has signed a long-term partnership with archrival and cloud computing pioneer Salesforce.com Inc.

The two companies said on Tuesday that Oracle will integrate some of its cloud-based software programs with Salesforce products. The companies gave few details on the unprecedented partnership, which also calls for Salesforce to expand its own use of Oracle products.

Oracle, which unveiled a separate cloud partnership with longtime rival Microsoft Corp on Monday, is looking to accelerate growth by expanding sales of cloud-computing products, one of the few fast-growing areas in the technology sector.

Oracle shares have grown 35 percent over the past five years, while Salesforce stock has soared more than 100 percent.

The alliance marks a dramatic shift by Oracle co-founder and Chief Executive Larry Ellison toward Salesforce and its CEO Marc Benioff, who Ellison has derided for more than a decade.

A bitter rivalry traces back to 2000, when Benioff fired Ellison from the Salesforce board of directors after Oracle started selling competitive software.

Spokeswomen for both companies declined to elaborate beyond the announcement in a press release.

That contrasted sharply with Monday's unveiling of the new Oracle-Microsoft partnership, heralded in a press conference featuring Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Oracle President Mark Hurd.

The products that Salesforce plans to purchase from Oracle include one that manages human resources, known as human capital management software.

That may signal that Salesforce has canceled ambitious plans to develop similar software that would compete with Oracle software. Benioff disclosed those plans to Reuters in December 2011. (http://reut.rs/sjtfcM)

Benioff could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston and Sayantani Ghosh in Bangalore; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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