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Oracle Joins HPE, Tesla In Moving HQ To Texas

“The California companies are not moving operations to Texas, but instead are mainly moving their headquarters. This seems to be mainly for taxes, or maybe for cheaper talent. But Silicon Valley has a reputation for talent,” says John Woodall, vice president of engineering west at General Datatech and long-time Silicon Valley resident.

Software vendor Oracle is following a couple of its high-tech peers, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Tesla, in uprooting its headquarters from California’s Bay Area.

Oracle, currently based in Redwood City, Calif., on Thursday officially changed its corporate headquarters location to Austin, Texas, as part of a flexible employee work location policy, a company spokesperson said via a statement emailed to CRN.

“We believe these moves best position Oracle for growth and provide our personnel with more flexibility about where and how they work. Depending on their role, this means that many of our employees can choose their office location as well as continue to work from home part time or all the time,” the spokesperson said.

[Related: The State Of IT Salaries And WFH Post-COVID-19: Hired Survey]

Oracle plans to continue supporting major hubs for the company worldwide, including hubs in Redwood Shores, Calif; Austin, Texas; Santa Monica, Calif; Seattle; Denver; Orlando, Fla.; Burlington, Mass.; and others.

“We expect to add other locations over time. By implementing a more modern approach to work, we expect to further improve our employees’ quality of life and quality of output,” the spokesperson said.

With the move—disclosed in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday—Oracle is following one of its top California Bay Area peers, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, to Texas. HPE earlier this month unveiled plans to move its headquarters to Houston while consolidating its technology talent from three separate sites, including its Aruba team, into its current San Jose, Calif headquarters site.

Another Silicon Valley company, data mining technology developer Palantir Technologies, in August said it would be moving to Denver. According to Bloomberg, Palantir is following its Chairman Peter Thiel and CEO Alex Karp who publicly questioned the value of remaining in California.

Another big Silicon Valley tech company, Tesla, is also reportedly moving to Austin, Texas, following its CEO Elon Musk.

While the Oracle spokesperson did not provide any additional information beyond the statement, the citing of “flexible employee work location policy” seems to stem, at least in part, from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, which has caused many technology companies to move part or a majority of their workforces to work from home as a way to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus.

A study by analyst firm Gartner early in the pandemic found that 74 percent of chief financial officers expected at least some of their employees to work from home permanently after the pandemic eventually ends. They cited the flexibility along with potentially lower costs associated with moving out of large office buildings.

Another recent survey by Hired.com found that employees are increasingly comfortable with their work-from-home situations, and that just over half would consider moving to areas with lower cost of living to continue working remotely. However, those employees sent mixed signals in terms of where they would like to move, selecting more expensive areas such as New York, Seattle, and San Francisco as their ideal locations.

For businesses thinking about leaving California, Austin, Texas is the right choice, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering west at General Datatech, a Dallas-based solution provider.

“Austin. in many ways. is culturally very similar to the Bay Area,” said Woodall, who lives in the Silicon Valley area.

Woodall told CRN that Texas has a great business environment and is open to companies moving there. Texas also has several technology hubs including Houston, Dallas, and Austin, the latter of which is just down the road from Red Rock, Texas, which is where Dell Technologies is headquartered.

“If there is enough talent in Austin, Houston, and Dallas to support the moves, that can be good for the companies,” he said. “And Oracle already has a large operation in Austin. There’s history for Oracle in Austin, and probably a lot of tax incentives.”

However, Woodall said, don’t expect a mass movement of employees to follow their corporate leaders to Austin or elsewhere in Texas.

“The California companies are not moving operations to Texas, but instead are mainly moving their headquarters,” he said. “This seems to be mainly for taxes, or maybe for cheaper talent. But Silicon Valley has a reputation for talent.”

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