Big Tech, CEOs, Money, and American Politics
The CEOs of the big tech companies Google, Facebook, and Twitter testified recently before a Senate Committee on content moderation. These big tech behemoths are widely perceived to be left-leaning politically so it should come as no surprise that Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas offered the most quotable moment by asking Twitter’s Jack Dorsey “Who the hell elected you?” Cruz then accused Twitter of “behaving as [a] Democratic super PAC, silencing views to the contrary of your political beliefs.”
That is some good theatre if only by C-Span standards.
Speaking of super PACs, Security Is Strength received a $250,000 donation from Oracle’s Larry Ellison on September 14 (2020) according to The Center for Responsive Politics. This super PAC supports Lindsey Graham (R-SC), known to be influential in the Trump administration’s attempt to take over TikTok operations for the US market. (We recently wrote about Oracle’s bid (for TikTok) as a likely gambit to prop up cloud revenues, check it out.)
As a side note, casual research suggests Larry Ellison has contributed to both sides of the aisle over the decades. The vast majority, however, went to Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign in 2015, totaling $5M over a nine-month period.
Such amounts are pocket change to the seventh most wealthy person in the universe, right?
Oracle also made news recently by going before the Supreme Court to defend its lawsuit against Google. That litigation is ten years running, regards Android’s copying of Java’s APIs, and could reward Oracle with nearly $9B.
Another long-running series of lawsuits is Oracle’s complaint against Rimini Street. That dates back to 2005 with TomorrowNow, Seth Ravin’s precursor to Rimini St. that was acquired by SAP and subsequently shuttered.
Somewhat related was Oracle’s Safra Catz participation in President Trump’s original transition team. This afforded her the opportunity to complain directly to The Donald about Amazon winning the $10B JEDI contract.
Courts decided against Oracle in this case, but we expect Oracle to win against Google and to keep litigating Rimini Street, if for no other reason than to execute a SLAPP competitive strategy. What does this have to do with Oracle’s end-user customers? Probably not much, even for Rimini Street’s customers.
While Oracle is perceived to be highly litigious, this rarely, actually, or directly affects customers.
Indirectly, Oracle’s aggressive pursuit of representation and use of the courts is arguably positive insomuch as a healthy Oracle is good for those continuing to invest in its software and services. Or maybe it is just whiny self-righteousness.
In any case, Oracle maintains an offensive posture as opposed to Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon having to defend themselves. Oracle has never been a household name even though its technology contains mountains of data about us all.
We are, by no means, expressing an opinion on Oracle’s behavior.
But we ARE suggesting it’s important to understand where Oracle focuses its litigation, and that is not on its customers’ confusion over policy-driven license shortfalls.
In our experience, Oracle will eventually walk from audit-generated license revenue if the customer vehemently disagrees that any value was received.