I think I'd care more if Larry Ellison was buying my company...

Larry Ellison on stage.

The infamous CEO Larry Ellison on stage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week I am at Mobile World Congress and whilst many are getting in a spin about shiny new toys – I may have done that as well – there is also the serious business of the network to talk about.

As such, I organised an interview with Andy Ory, CEO of Acme Packet, a company which specialises in IP technology for enterprises and service providers.

He had some very interesting views about mobile operators, how they can compete in the world of over the top providers and how 4G will boost the unified communications market hugely – these comments are likely to appear in a separate piece.

However, I had to blog right away about how shocked I was on his comments regarding the company’s upcoming nuptials with Silicon Valley Goliath Oracle.

The firm signed a definitive acqusition agreement in February to the tune of $1.7bn but the deal has yet to close. As such, I asked a few probing questions about why the company was selling and whether Acme Packet was afraid its hardware business may not interest Oracle as much as its software.

Ory’s face was utterly blank. “I don’t know what they are going to do with the company,” he said whilst shrugging his shoulders.

Ummm, what? How can someone know so little about the acquisition of their company? Ok, I am not totally naïve and understand he would be keeping some cards close to his chest until the final deal was signed. I also get that Oracle would want to keep their business strategies a little quiet in case the deal fell through and Acme Packet decided to share.

But imagine you had co-founded a company 13 years ago, put your heart and soul in, built up a product portfolio and gained a loyal customer base. When you are about to hand this over to not just any corporation but the notorious Larry Ellison, would you not want to be sure he wasn’t doing a Sun Microsystems on you and buying the company to pick it to pieces?

Perhaps I am just not made for the business world and am better off staying outside of it as a less than patient observer, but his reaction will bemuse me for a while to come. 

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