IBM Software VP: We Want To Kick Oracle's Teeth In

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"I am actively hiring people to go kick their teeth in," said said Mike Borman, IBM vice president, worldwide sales for the IBM Software Group in a wide ranging 90 minute interview earlier this week before the hostile Oracle bid for BEA. The Oracle takeover bid for BEA is sure to be a hot topic at this week's IBM Information On Demand conference in Las Vegas where Borman and IBM's other top software brass will rally the IBM software faithful.

"I have hired a number of direct salespeople that their only mission is to go after and win Oracle accounts back and put them on DB2," said Borman. He said IBM has what it calls a Viper 500 program with IBM's account teams to replace Oracle in more than 600 accounts. He said IBM now has 100 direct software sales reps whose only aim in life is to take Oracle down in those key accounts.

The IBM-Oracle battle is sure to heat up if Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is successful with his $6.6 billion takeover bid of BEA, one of IBM's top software competitors.

Borman did not have an estimate on how much in sales the Oracle takedown program has brought to Big Blue in terms of annual revenue or what percentage of that business IBM channel partners played a part in winning. IBM does not appear to have a specific Oracle takedown program aimed exclusively at partners, said Borman.

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Borman said that Oracle and Microsoft are IBM's $20 billion software group's biggest competitors. What's more, he said, IBM is competing more with Hewlett-Packard in the wake of HP's $4.5 billion acquisition of Mercury Interactive last year. As for software giant SAP, Borman said in some areas SAP is a partner and in some areas SAP is a competitor.

With SAP's help, Borman claims IBM has had strong results with its Oracle direct sales takeover team. "We have had very large customers get rid of Oracle and put in DB2," he said noting that most of those deals were done hand in hand with SAP recommending DB2. Borman claims that customers can save "a lot of money and get things done faster" running DB2 with SAP rather than Oracle's database.