Oracle Purchases RightNow Technologies

Less than a week after purchasing Endeca, Oracle extended its acquisition run with the announcement that it was purchasing Montana-based RightNow Technologies for $1.5 billion.

This deal is particularly interesting because, as the Wall St Journal notes, it marks the first time Oracle has bought a company  that sells application programs accessed primarily over the Internet as software as a service. This is being widely interpreted as a shot across Salesforce’s bow.

RightNow has a lot to offer Oracle. We rate RightNow as a leader in our WAVE for CRM customer service suites.  Along with salesforce.com, we called out RightNow as a SaaS solution that was faster to deploy and easier to change than traditional on-premise offerings. RightNow is well positioned to give Oracle a customer service offering for the mid market.

Like all M&A, there will be growing pains.  The companies have different strengths, sizes, and cultures.

Success will very much rely upon how effectively Oracle can differentiate between their many customer service products to ensure their portfolio targeting is optimized. With this acquisition and previous ones - such as ATG and InQuira -  there is overlapping customer service technology. It will be critical to differentiate between products such as knowledge management and chat. This will not be an easy task in this complex and ever-changing customer service technology landscape.