Tech Talk: Oracle Could Hurt Competitors Under Trump

Donald Trump just swore in as the 45th President of the United States of America, and if there's one company in the Silicon Valley that's celebrating his appointment, it's Oracle. While most tech giants in the country weren't thrilled to learn the results of the U.S. presidential election back in early November, the Redwood Shores-based corporation was likely already thinking about numerous ways in which it could benefit under the Trump administration. Ten weeks later, Oracle is bound to have come up with some kind of a plan.

The company's ties with Trump lead directly to the top of the Californian tech giant whose Chief Executive Officer Safra Catz served on the President's transition team since mid-December. After Trump won the election, Catz publicly supported the then-President-elect by saying how his proposed tax reforms and reduced industry regulation would spell good news for the tech industry. Oracle's CEO was also one of the few Silicon Valley executives who didn't openly support Hillary Clinton in the past and has seemingly played her cards just right as she's now in a perfect position to lobby for her company directly with the President himself.

With Trump and the rest of the U.S. administration seemingly on its side, Oracle has a number of powerful allies that can help it make life difficult for Google after years of legal battles and public conflicts with the Alphabet-owned company. The firm's Chairman Larry Ellison rarely hesitated to voice his dislike for Google, especially after Oracle spent over four years and countless sums unsuccessfully trying to prove how earlier versions of Android infringed its Java-related patents. This animosity culminated when it came to light that Oracle is financing The Google Transparency Project, a nonprofit committed to publicizing Google's supposed transgressions and related shady dealings. The revelation came last summer and was allegedly described as a "vendetta" by one of Oracle's senior executives. If a multi-billion dollar corporation is truly willing to indulge in "vendettas" by using its own money, it isn't a huge leap to presume it will also consider taking advantage of its newfound friendship with the U.S. President to hurt Google's prospects.

The Podesta Group, a top Washington lobbying firm seemingly agrees with this assessment, as the company reportedly ditched all of its Silicon Valley clients except for Oracle. Frankly, it's pretty telling when a lobbying giant founded by John Podesta — a close confidante of the Clintons — lets go of its Democrat-friendly clients in favor of Oracle. It's as if the Podesta Group is admitting that no amount of traditional lobbying will be any good under the new administration or is simply trying to make amends for the fact that its founders were close to Trump's political opponents. In any case, most companies in the tech industry not called Oracle have little reason to be pleased with this turn of events, especially after enjoying eight comfortable years under the Obama administration that was traditionally receptive to their requests and lobbying efforts.

Even if President Trump implements his promised tax reforms and loosens industry regulation, the majority of Silicon Valley probably won't be thrilled with the new administration if Oracle has a lot of sway with the FTC, FCC, DOJ, and every other government agency that can put its rivals on the back foot. The likes of Google and Amazon have often been criticized by President Trump in the past, so Oracle likely wouldn't have to work too hard to put them under some additional pressure from the government. While President Trump frequently demonstrated he's a bit of a political wildcard whose course of action is almost impossible to predict and he hasn't shied away from criticizing the tech industry as a whole, if there's a single Silicon Valley giant that stands to benefit under his administration, it's most likely Oracle.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]