After weeks of claims that long-time Oracle executive Thomas Kurian has taken a well-deserved break and "waited" to return, Oracle announced on Friday that Kurian has resigned.
We understand that last week, Oracle has elevated T.K. Anand took over many of Kurian's responsibilities, telling the employees that his promotion was temporary until Kurian returned. Oracle has declined to comment on Anand's ongoing role at the company, so it is unclear whether he has finally obtained the job or is just on trial.
Oracle has indicated that many other managers have been assigned parts of Kurian's responsibilities. That would make sense, since 35,000 people in 32 countries, or about a quarter of the company, had told him, said Kurian's LinkedIn profile.
T.K. Anand is an interesting choice to drive the most important engineering unit of Oracle, since it is an Oracle outsider. He joined the company in June after a 22-year engineering career at Microsoft, taking on the role of general manager in Microsoft's cloud unit, according to his LinkedIn profile.
We can understand why Oracle could like its background. In these days Microsoft, like Oracle, is fighting a head-to-head battle with Amazon. And Microsoft is widely regarded as competing, the number 2 player, and is particularly popular with large companies, which are also Oracle's major customers.
An outsider is also a complete in-around of Kurian who had been with Oracle since 1996 and was so close to Oracle founder, president and CTO Larry Ellison that he once said that Kurian was running to become CEO if Ellison ever retires .
The company says that Kurian's resignation officially took place on September 28th and that he started to "pursue other opportunities". But nobody inside Oracle is surprised.
Kurian was one of Oracle's longest-running engineering executives who was responsible for Oracle's major cloud operations and his exodus was revealed earlier this month, for the first time reported by CNBC's Jordan Novet.
Although his departure was described as an "extended" leave, Business Insider published a copy of his e-mail to the troops and seemed to use a language that sounded like a final farewell.
Within the company, none of the royal-ranking employees expected him to return, an insider told us. This, even though Mark Hurd has repeatedly kept the official corporate line with analysts of last week's quarterly conference call, saying a couple of times about Kurian's departure: "There was a break.
Reportedly, Kurian left because he was beating his head with his boss, Ellison, on the direction of the company's cloud computing business, which, as we have already reported, makes a lot of sense.
Oracle's cloud is years behind Amazon's market leader in terms of functionality. It will take billions of dollars and maybe several years to reach Amazon, if possible.
Amazon does not stand still, but adds functionality at an ever-increasing rate, hundreds or more per quarter. And now Amazon has started a direct attack to ward off Oracle's customers, not just from the new-born Oracle cloud, but from its all-important database, the technology on which its entire empire is built.
All this put Kurian and his team on the warm seat.
Although some parts of Oracle's cloud business are doing very well, there are signs that the cloud is not going well as the company wants.
As previously reported by Business Insider, there were people among the massive Oracle sales force that used tricks to make cloud sales, even to customers who were not interested and who ultimately would not use the cloud, pushing the boss of North American sales to write an email essentially all of them to beat it.
Meanwhile, although Oracle customers tend to love their products, they also complain that Oracle uses contractual tricks to shake them for money.
In 2015, Business Insider reported on a tactic, in which Oracle tests a customer to verify that the customer is using Oracle tech in accordance with the software license. If he finds something wrong, he can send a large bill. An Oracle representative can then tell the customer that to reduce the account, the customer must purchase some cloud services, even if the customer does not want or need the cloud service.
These checks are still ongoing, says an internal Oracle member.
Beyond that, top Oracle executives did not earn certain performance payments related to the goals of the cloud, and they stopped declaring openly the revenue of the cloud and Oracle's lack of analysts' expectations for its last quarter.
None of this means that Oracle is in a cave of despair, but things seem more boring than they would like to admit.