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Safra Catz

Wall Street questions Oracle's strategy after weak Q3 sales

Oracle's severe miss in quarterly sales, dismissed by management as a blip, amplified questions on Wall Street about the business-software giant's diminishing clout in an industry moving rapidly toward cheaper Internet-based rivals.Senior management assured Wall Street on Wednesday that a worrying 2-percent slip in new software sales was mostly due to a sales force that lacked "urgency", something to be addressed this quarter. Many analysts agreed, describing the decline in software and hardware revenues as a speed bump.Others say the dismal numbers highlight concerns that the strategy championed by the world's No. 3 software maker, of integrating cloud software with its own hardware for greater efficiency, may not be enough to keep up with a growing number of rivals offering low-cost solutions.Some worry that Oracle's era of fast growth and lofty margins, when it could dictate prices because of its premier market position, may be waning.Aggressive, fast-growing companies like Salesfor...

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