Oracle President Mark Hurd: Microsoft Move 'Not Planned'

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Oracle Mark Hurd (Oracle president Mark Hurd at an Oracle event in Redwood City, Calif., Thursday, June 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul
Paul Sakuma/APOracle President Mark Hurd
By Catherine Boyle

Mark Hurd, one of the rumored leading contenders to replace Steve Ballmer as chief executive of Microsoft, told CNBC that he is "not planning" to move from his current job as president at technology company Oracle.

Hurd is one of several technology executives whose name has been linked with one of the biggest jobs in the industry, since it emerged that Steve Ballmer is stepping down from Microsoft (MSFT). Other high-profile names connected to the job include Alan Mulally, chief executive of Ford Motor (F), and Stephen Elop, the former Nokia (NOK) CEO who has rejoined Microsoft to head up its mobile devices division.

Hurd told CNBC he is "very happy" at Oracle (ORCL) -- but did not deny that he had been contacted by Microsoft.

Asked how he would fix the challenges facing the computer giant, he said: "Microsoft needs to work on their own business."

Hurd was previously chief executive of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) where he was credited with helping turn around the company's fortunes through an aggressive cost-cutting program. He stepped down in 2010 the wake of sexual harassment allegations but was eventually cleared of all charges.

Larry Ellison, the Oracle chief executive, gave Hurd his job at Oracle within a month of his departure from HP. He also publicly compared Hurd's firing to Apple's (AAPL) board firing Steve Jobs in 1985.
The board of HP said that Hurd had not violated company policy on sexual harassment, but he had broken its policy on business standards by submitting inaccurate expense claims.

Oracle has just announced a deal with U.K. telecom giant BT Group (BT), which will use its human resources "cloud" technology for its near-90,000 employees around the world.

Revenues at Oracle, one of the world's biggest software companies, for the first quarter disappointed some analysts when they were announced in September. Sales for the three months to Aug. 31 came in at $8.37 billion, against analysts' average forecasts of $8.48 billion.

Oracle has increasing market share, Hurd argued, and said revenue was on an "incline" rather than decline. The company is investing around $5 billion annually in research and development, much of it in cloud technology -- which allows software to be stored on a web-based service.

"We are the only company in the industry with a whole suite of applications that run in the cloud," he said.

"The real driver of the cloud is not pricing, it's the speed."

Rival SAP (SAP) is winding down its "Business By Design," its web-based business software.


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