It's a big week ahead for Oracle.
Starting Sunday, software developers, marketers and salespeople will flood into downtown San Francisco for OpenWorld, Oracle's annual customer conference, which has attracted more than 60,000 attendees in recent years.
But first things first. Oracle announces earnings on Thursday and is expected to report close to $1 billion in quarterly cloud revenue. The earnings call will give Chairman Larry Ellison his first chance to lay out his plans for NetSuite — which also counts Ellison as its biggest shareholder — since Oracle agreed to buy the company in July for $9.3 billion.
The word "cloud" will be everywhere. Like the rest of the computing industry, Oracle has acknowledged that the future of technology is about easy and quick accessibility to data from any device with businesses less inclined to spend money on proprietary hardware and packaged software.
But Oracle has been slow to adopt the subscription business model that follows. The company is still reliant on traditional software licenses, updates and support for the vast majority of its revenue. As Oracle makes the move, it has to deal with pricing pressure that comes from enhanced competition.
"We expect cloud revenue growth will continue to accelerate, though investors will monitor the potential cost to the legacy business, as well as the potential impact to margins during the transition," Nomura Securities analyst Frederick Grieb wrote in a report Thursday. Nomura has a buy rating on the stock and $44 price target.