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Oracle to Buy Hyperion for $3.3 Billion

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the big-ticket-items dept.

The Almighty Buck 52

Oolala submitted an article that opens: "Business software maker Oracle Corp. will buy Hyperion Solutions Corp. for $3.3 billion in cash, renewing a shopping spree aimed at toppling rival SAP AG. The deal announced Thursday will give Oracle an arsenal of Hyperion products that are widely used by SAP's customers. Hyperion's tools, known as "business intelligence" software, help chief financial officers and other top corporate executives track their company's performance."

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Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18203122)

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Article text -- site is slashdotted (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18203172)

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IGl0cyBtb3N0IHJlY2VudCBxdWFydGVyIG9uIE1hcmNoIDIwLg ==

in cash? (4, Funny)

piojo (995934) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203196)

That's a lot of cash. I wonder how they'll carry it?

Re:in cash? (1, Funny)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203252)

They'll probably just stick the money on Larry Ellison's jet, fly over Hyperion Solutions HQ and dump it into this really big bag with a dollar sign on it. It has to have a dollar sign you know. The number of vertical strike in the middle is discretionary.

And that's how you do high-level business. Or so I hear.

Re:in cash? (2, Funny)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203520)

I'd say they would initially hand over one of those big novelty cheques. They are always good for big amounts of money.

Re:in cash? (1, Funny)

just-a-stone (766843) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203682)

After a full scan, then they locked Hyperion until the huge transaction is processed. Later on, they'll send a rule based optimizer.

Oracle is buying, but who is selling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18203266)

And how will they make money off of this? Space tourism to orbit may be on the horizon, but trips to a moon of Saturn [nasa.gov] are a long way off!

Tracker. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18203326)

"Hyperion's tools, known as "business intelligence" software, help chief financial officers and other top corporate executives track their company's performance.""

That use to be called...the stock market.

Buzzword alert (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18203350)

Hyperion's tools, known as "business intelligence" software...
"Business intelligence" software is a fancy term for MS Excel spreadsheets.

Re:Buzzword alert (2, Insightful)

lamasquerade (172547) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203708)

More of a term for analysis (or more often, synthesis) of business related data. Data analysis sounds pretty fancy anyway - but it's more often than not a misnomer. Most 'analysis' is really just grouping and trending, and unless you take something out of the data and see the effect you aren't really analysing anything.

Just for interest's sake, analysis means to take apart, while synthesis means to bring together, I think.

Re:Buzzword alert (5, Informative)

SashaMan (263632) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203800)

Not really. Actually, it's more accurate to say a relational database is like an excel spreadsheet and "business intelligence" (which really means OLAP, on-line analytical processing) software is like pivot tables. The difference is that modern databases and OLAP systems can support billions of rows and access from thousands of users, an Excel spreadsheet not so much.

To give more context, Hyperion (or, more accurately, a company Hyperion bought a while back) basically invented OLAP with Essbase. This is a hugely important deal in enterprise software. Lots of companies use Oracle for their transactional data (i.e. sales data, purchasing data, etc), to support huge data volumes, but Oracle's homegrown OLAP products to analyze this data are generally poorly received in the marketplace. Hyperion is one of the standard bearers of this type of software.

Re:Buzzword alert (1)

alxtoth (914920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204888)

So does it mean that Oracle is dropping "Oracle OLAP", after they dropped Oracle Express ? I tried to work with Oracle OLAP, which is quite bad compared to Essbase. Actually Essbase is very good, and it seems as one of "the solutions" for big cubes where MS Analytic services won't scale.

Re:Buzzword alert (1)

wilf (106917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205358)

it's not just Essbase they want. they want Hyperion Financial Management and Hyperion Planning as well.

Re:Buzzword alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18252876)

Cartesis has a better product offering.

Re:Buzzword alert (1)

knutsdood (866904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207126)

Excellent description. I work with a group of Hyperion consultants and I must say...these people are some of the most intelligent folks I have ever met. OLAP really pushes the limits of conventional computing and I find it fascinating that the Hyperion software really PEGS the spedometer. BI and BPM are growing so fast its hard to keep up the demand...its really a nifty space to be involved with.

Re:Buzzword alert (1)

anomalous cohort (704239) | more than 7 years ago | (#18208522)

a company Hyperion bought a while back

Arbor Software

Actually, it's more accurate to say a relational database is like an excel spreadsheet and "business intelligence" (which really means OLAP, on-line analytical processing) software is like pivot tables.

The term OLAP is not the most technically accurate. Basically, OnLine Analytical Processing is a method that accountants can use to explore ways to better maximize profits or minimize costs within a corporation. Arbor Software realized that the multi-dimensional database technology being researched in various universities at the time would be an effective tool for OLAP.

In a relational database, there are many tables but they are all two dimensional. In a multi-dimensional database, there is only one table but it can have an arbitrary number of dimensions. This is normally referred to as a cube. Typically, cubes will have about twenty dimensions. The dimensions of a cube are organized into hierarchies of arbitrary data types but the facts of the cube are always decimal numbers. In order to reference one of these facts, you have to specify a value for each dimension. Specifying one less dimension gives you a row. Specifying two less dimensions gives you a plane, etc.

The facts are what you are trying to minimize or maximize (usually in terms of money). You pick dimensions that you believe play a determining role in your goals. You establish hierarchies that you believe to be meaningful in your search. Now that you have the structure of the cube in place, you load it with operational data which typically comes from a relational database.

The typical GUI for querying an OLAP database is MS-Excel. This is because accountants are used to Excel and think in terms of spreadsheets. Every dimension of the cube will be expressed somewhere on the spreadsheet. Both rows and columns of the report will be specified by two dimensional tables. Double clicking a value in this area either drills down into more detail in the relevant hierarchy or drills up thus aggregating the data (which is also displayed in a two dimensional table on the spreadsheet). This is called slicing and dicing. The accountant can also move a dimension from the row area to the column area and vice versa. This is called pivoting. Slice and dice and pivot are the two operations that accountants use to navigate through the data, to analyze it and to come up with operational recommendations.

Re:Buzzword alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18206526)

"Business Intelligence" is to "Excel" what the modern computer is to the abacus, or the Ferrari is to the Model T. Essbase is an incredibly powerful Multidimensional analysis tool and combined with a powerful predictive analytics engine it can completely redefine how companies do business.

Re:Buzzword alert (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216464)

Essbase is an incredibly powerful Multidimensional analysis tool and combined with a powerful predictive analytics engine it can completely redefine how companies do business.
Bah. You missed out "paradigm shift".

Turnabout (2, Insightful)

PingXao (153057) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203488)

This is interesting coming as it does less than a year after Hyperion's deal to buy the maker of Focus, i.e. info builders, fell through. I wonder what now what will happen to the smaller players. Will they get bought out for a song, or whither and fold? It looks like that market is consolidating to only a few big players.

A secret about Hyperion (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203500)

The KKK's website makes them look like the boy scouts and Hyperion's website makes them look like a decent, professional company. But in fact, unless I'm completely mistaken, Hyperion is the brand of computer Walmart actually sold for like $300 a year or so ago. They were insanely cheap for what they had but still, it was a terrible computer. So "Hyperion Solutions" are apparently to sell you bottom of the bin crap. Great pick Oracle!

Nasty! (4, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203536)

Damn, Ballmer and Jobs have got *nothing* on Ellison when it comes to sheer brutality. He's cutting out SAP's legs from under them by buying up and shutting down (or converting or Oracle optimized... same thing) the main tools that are used for getting into the real data analysis. That would be like if Apple bought Crystal Reports. Ouch.

It's interesting that the arena that these guys play in is so small, yet worth so much money.

Re:Nasty! (1)

mandie (69148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204248)

Ballmer and Jobs seem to be less egotistical than Ellison, as well. And that's saying something, because no one ever accused either of a lack of self-worth.

Re:Nasty! (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204414)

Nothing new for Ellison, before the Peoplesoft deal he bought out Webgain(Toplink ORM) and now the licenses are up to $5k/cpu unless you're running the Oracle AS in which case it's free..

Damn, Ballmer and Jobs have got *nothing* on Ellison when it comes to sheer brutality. He's cutting out SAP's legs from under them by buying up and shutting down (or converting or Oracle optimized... same thing) the main tools that are used for getting into the real data analysis.

Re:Nasty! (1)

natd (723818) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204438)

I just had to post..I'm having real trouble seeing how "That would be like if Apple bought Crystal Reports. Ouch. " fits in.

Honestly...please, I want to know!

Re:Nasty! (1)

zootm (850416) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205622)

Crystal Reports is a tool commonly used to enhance the reporting capabilities of Microsoft Visual Studio. The case here is Oracle buying up the manufacturer of tools which are used to enhance their competitor's product, and I suppose Apple buying Crystal Reports would be a similar case if you consider Apple's dev tools as competitors to Microsoft's. I'm not sure I do, though.

Re:Nasty! (1)

wiresquire (457486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204874)

That would be like if Apple bought Crystal Reports.

Sorry, I can't work out if that is sarcasm, or if you own stock in Crystal Reports?

Re:Nasty! (2, Informative)

Zardoz44 (687730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206172)

There is no Crystal Reports company anymore. They were bought by another BI vendor called Business Objects. They might get bought by someone soon, but probably not by Apple.

Re:Nasty! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18208172)

too late, Business Objects already bought Crystal Reports.....

open source bi all the way is the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18203540)

open source bi all the way is the future

I remember Hyperion (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203578)

It seems like a lot of cash for an old amber screen mostly PC compatible [wikipedia.org] .

Re:I remember Hyperion (1)

_Bucktooth_ (255094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204404)

It's way too much even for this yacht. [royalhuisman.com]

Incidentally, this yacht was built for Jim Clark, [wikipedia.org] the founder of Silicon Graphics and Netscape, and featured the first carbon fiber mast and computerised sail system. I'm not a sailing geek, but I want to be!

Re:I remember Hyperion (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205550)

Some of that The Soul of a New Machine thang, eh? (Actually the sailing part is only a short bit at the start of the book to set the mood. A good book about a ho-hum product.)

Al Gore should be worried... (1)

dws90 (1063948) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203822)

So, the Oracle at Delphi is taking over the Sun itself? With all the drugs she takes to get those "divine truths", there's no telling what she'll do with the thing - Global Warming here we come!

Don't forget the Microsoft factor (3, Informative)

swinte (227749) | more than 7 years ago | (#18203864)

This can also be seen as a response to Microsoft's recent purchase of ProClarity (makers of front-end software for the Microsoft BI products). Both Microsoft and Oracle are gobbling up companies that fill gaps in their offerings to allow them to sell an entire BI solution instead of just widgets that other companies assemble into complete solutions.

Re:Don't forget the Microsoft factor (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18204842)

I've wondered if ProClarity was named to one-up Clarity, a plug-in reporting tool for Hyperion Essbase?

Actually, it's even weirder. Hyperion recently announced a partnership with Microsoft. Wonder what acquisition by a mortal blood enemy is going to do to that deal?

And this does hurt Microsoft. Their attempt at OLAP - after years of development, tractor trailers of cash, and free distribution - still sucks. As in two orders of magnitude slower than Essbase. Not to mention zero (OK, I exaggerate, probably like one or two percent) of the built-in functions of the Hyperion suite. And partnering with Microsoft is often a kiss-of-death, knife-in-the-back kind of thing. (Stac, HotMail)

Bizzarly enough, a couple of months back, I read a white paper where a number of analysts were predicting Oracle might scoop up Business Objects. Which is funny because - while BO is competition to Hyperion - BO is not actually OLAP. Just a lot more glossy.

This is probably going to end up as a good deal for Hyperion. Influx of money, and partnered with a software company that does a good (glossy) interface - probably the single biggest weakness of Hyperion (despite the acquisition of Brio (now Hyperion Intelligence Explorer) a couple of years back. Microsoft has always stomped other companies by focusing on style over substance. Oracle has got the product and money to compete on the style front, Hyperion has a product that leaves Microsoft in the dust. I'd really like to believe the combination of the two will be enough.

I didn't like the trend Hyperion was showing - going towards a Windows only, Microsoft SQL server only product. Hyperion should remain cross-platform, and support multiple databases.

Disclaimer. I work with Hyperion. The end product is really nice, from a user perspective. For databases supporting a multi-billion dollar company, response time is measured in seconds. We crank out tens of thousands of reports, customized for each recipient. People can (and do) play with the databases through Brio dashboards and through Excel. But, OMFG, the developer tools have a long long way to go. (

Re:Don't forget the Microsoft factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18207776)

Both Microsoft and Oracle are gobbling up companies that fill gaps in their offerings...


It's not just limited to those two. The whole "enterprise software" industry is on the cusp of a market consolodation. The top 5 or so companies are all working to be one-stop shops for coprorate software by buying up the bits and pieces they need to fill gaps. Oracle is only slightly different in that a lot of their purchases have a tactical element of sticking it to a competitor.


This is putting pressure on the "second tier" of enterprise software companies, those in the top 20 or so in size. They are consolodating within their niche (CRM, ERP, BI, etc.) in order to buffer themselves against buyouts as well as to carve out a position of the leading "specialists" within a particular market segment. They are looking at a future landscape where competition for deals will be between the big "do everything" companies and their own product. If they can't grow to be a big player in their segment then they will be crushed by those at the top and relegated to selling software to mom & pop businesses.


There are a lot of parallels between this and the "office productivity" software consolodation of the early 90s. First you had individual apps, word processors, spreadsheets, etc. Then they consolodated into office "suites." Things diverge there a little, since Microsoft's control of the desktop OS allowed them to strongarm Office into a defacto standard, but I think FoxPro and Visio are decent examples of the consolodation of that time. On the other hand, everyone has an eye on what Microsoft is doing. Right now their current "enterprise software" offerings are toys compared to the specialized companies but they are also buying up the bits and pieces they need, just like they did with Office. It certainly makes everyone look and say, "what will happen when Microsoft unleashes their marketing machine into our space."


This is all part of the maturation cycle of the IT industry. The real money now is selling big software systems that help companies manage and run their core business. These deals always include large licensing revenue, usually annual maintanance fees and lots of hourly implementation work at healthy margins. As this space matures and consolodates, the "next big thing" will start growing in the spaces formerly occupied by the tiny niche specialists that used to inhabit the landscape. Kind of like a forest fire, I guess.

Tales from beyond the taxi ride. (2, Interesting)

Hucko (998827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204286)

I'm a taxi driver in lil Rockhampton,Qld,Aus. I had a salesman from Oracle in my cab today telling about this! He was selling software to our local uni. Funnily enough, he seemed sad that there are company with more dosh to through around than some countries GDP.

What for? (4, Funny)

Nuffsaid (855987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18204732)

What is the evil plan behind the acquisition of a huge icy moon [nineplanets.org] weighting almost 18 millions billions tons? Easy. Move it in Earth orbit and threat your competitors to crush their headquarters with the power of millions of H bombs if they don't hand you ONE HUNDRED THOUSANDS BILIONS DOLLARS!!! MhuuahahahAHAH!!!

Re:What for? (1)

TacNuke (890744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207688)

For a second I thought they bought the planet Hyperion. Look out for the Shrike is all I have to say.

Consolidation may not work well (3, Insightful)

cyberianpan (975767) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205482)

I use & develop for Hyperion extensively, the front end Analyzer is a very powerful GUI, even I as a SQL developer gladly use it as it saves "handcoding" SQL... in fact with response times of 5 seconds from conception of grouping to execution & data return it is a no brainer for me, let alone end users.

However the Hyperion suite is very much end of the food chain, after the fact. It relies on other operational/transactional systems to produce the data. Thus its independence was an advantage. Its ETL is somewhat weak & support patchy so possibly Oracle can help there. However Oracle are a direct competitor to the other operational/transactional systems (e.. Teradata,IBM, SAP etc) ... thus the possible market for Hyperion is limited by this takeover. I'm not sure on the value add... people who would have bought Hyperion alongside some Oracle system still will. Any other combo is going to be a harder sell...

Hyperion acquision makes Oracle complete Microsoft (1)

max909 (619312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205884)

The perons who usually keep their eye on Business Intelligence world would definately know that Microsoft SQL Server 2005/2000 Analysis Services (MSOLAP) is the most widely used BI tool around there, in fact Cognos is the grand father of all of these tools, but when we speak about the number of Installations in the market MSOLAP is the king.

This acquision bring MS and Oracle head to head. Recently Oracle has not been very successfull with its OLAP tools, although people usually keep Oracle DB at back and use MSOLAP at the front.

Tweaking Hyperion make it use Oracle dependent and/or update it as fast at MS does would be good decision for them. But again this is really a long term planning and lots of stuff has to be done.

Oh, good! (1)

entmike (469980) | more than 7 years ago | (#18206634)

Oddly enough, I sit here and read this while in SAP's Business Warehouse training. Then again, I'm a SAP Basis Admin, and kind of HOPE we one day drop our BW implementation. ;)

They need integration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18207112)

We just had Oracle (PeopleSoft) come give a presentation of their higher ed product, and it was a shambles. It was clear from the start that all of the business involved in the product (recent and not-so-recent Oracle acquisitions) would prohibit a seamless experience with their database application. I don't know if it was just the presenters, or whether the product is really as fragmented as it looked. In any case, Oracle really dropped the ball.

SAP bought Pilot Software (1)

bjelkeman (107902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18207918)

SAP on the other hand bought Pilot Software [sap.com] , a California based company (with engineering in Cambridge, Mass.) for an undisclosed sum the other day. Pilot Software has many of the engineers from the original Pilot Software, which went through a number of transitions before ending up with SAP. They have some of the very first OLAP tools which still work really well, but have been concentrating on Performance Management tools over the last three or four years. Pilots PM tool, PilotWorks, is actually rather nice and it will be interesting to see how SAP uses them in the future. I used to work for the European Pilot distributor a couple of years ago.

SQR gets bought again (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18208106)


I don't HOW many corporate changes that product has been through. For the ignorant, SQR is a report/programming language used by PeopleSoft and others to write programs and generate reports from databases. I got some experience using it at City College of San Francisco with Oracle databases and the SCT Banner college information system.

It's a niche product and basically an obsolete language, having not really been significantly enhanced in some time on Hyperion's watch.

It's been around for years and been through probably a half dozen or more corporate sales and acquisitions. Keeping the name straight of whatever company currently owns it is not easy.

Here's the Wikipedia entry. [wikipedia.org]

And here's the history:

History

SQ Software created SQR in the mid 1980s. It had a marketing agreement with D & N Systems, which changed its name to SQL Solutions and was later acquired by Sybase Inc. Sybase purchased SQ Software in the early 1990s. To avoid competing directly with Oracle Corporation, Sybase had a marketing and development agreement with MITI for the Oracle database versions of SQR. MITI acquired the full rights to SQR in the mid 1990s. MITI changed its name to SQRiBE Technologies in 1997. Brio Technology acquired SQRiBE in August, 1999. Brio Technology later changed its name to Brio Software. Brio licensed the compiler source code to PeopleSoft Inc. sometime around 2000. Hyperion Solutions Corporation acquired Brio Software in October, 2003. Oracle Corporation acquired PeopleSoft in December, 2004.

And now Oracle has acquired Hyperion, thus reuniting SQR with Peoplesoft.

$3.3 Billion in CASH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18208822)

The real winner here is clearly the wheelbarrow company.
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