On the Call: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif. (AP) -- Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has always had a flair for theatrics, a tendency he displayed once again Thursday during a conference call to discuss his company's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings.

The numbers weren't well received on Wall Street, largely because Oracle's total revenue and software sales lagged analysts' projections. The shortfall raised doubts about how well Oracle Corp. is handling the transition to "cloud computing." The term refers to selling software as a service, or SAAS, that is sold through monthly subscriptions so applications can be accessed on any device with an Internet connection.

The increasingly popular concept pioneered by the likes of Salesforce.com Inc. and NetSuite Inc. is a departure from Oracle's longtime method of licensing software on individual computers kept in a customer's own office.

Even as Oracle's stock plunged Thursday, Ellison seized on a question about a database software product called 12c to promote an upcoming announcement that he thinks will prove his company has a bright future in cloud computing.

QUESTION: I was wondering if, Larry, you could help us frame how the upcoming release of 12c could differ from past cycles in terms of license growth rates?

ANSWER: Next week, we will be announcing technology partnerships with the most important, let me be clear, the largest and most important SAAS companies and infrastructure companies in the cloud. And they will be using our technology, committing to our technology for years to come ....

We think 12c will be the foundation of a modern cloud where you get multitenant applications with a high degree of security and a high degree of efficiency ..., where you don't have to sacrifice one or the other. Again we have ... I would call them startling series of announcements with companies like Salesforce.com, Net Suite, Microsoft. All that happens next week, we will be giving you the details. These partnerships in the cloud I think will reshape the cloud and reshape the perception of Oracle technology in the cloud. 12c, in other words, is the most important technology we have ever developed for this new generation of cloud computing.