Oracle says goodbye to the adtech business

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With one line in an earnings call on Tuesday full of positive talk around cloud computing and artificial intelligence, Oracle CEO Safra Catz put an end to a line of business Oracle built through acquisitions for more than a decade.

“In Q4, we decided to exit the advertising business, which had declined to about $300 million in revenue in fiscal year ’24,” Catz said. 

Oracle runs on a June 1st fiscal year. Tuesday’s earning call covered the company’s Q4 and 2024 fiscal year results.

For more than a decade, Oracle built an adtech business around data, which seemed like a natural fit for a database company. A number of tools were acquired and rolled into Oracle Data Cloud. Eventually, Oracle Advertising was born.

But changes in the advertising industry, including regulations like GDPR and the growing power of walled gardens like Meta, meant the data Oracle’s tools collected couldn’t always be used the way the company or its users envisioned. 

In 2016, for example, Oracle acquired social sharing widget AddThis as a way to add data to its Data Cloud and help inform ad buys. But the company had to halt AddThis usage in Europe in 2019 once GDPR took effect. By the spring of 2023, AddThis was gone worldwide.

Among the notable Oracle investments in adtech:

  • BlueKai (2014)
  • Datalogix (2014)
  • AddThis (2016)
  • Crosswise (2016)
  • Moat (2017)
  • Grapeshot (2018)

In 2022, a class action lawsuit alleging Oracle sold personal information to third parties without consent demonstrated just how hard it was becoming to be a data company in the digital advertising business.

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Why we care. Oracle’s departure from the advertising business leaves a hole, especially for existing customers. There’s also quite a bit of technology involved, which could be sold off to competitors in the adtech space.

But it was clear from Tuesday’s earnings call that Oracle has bigger fish to fry than advertising. The end of the advertising business was an afterthought on a call that heavily discussed AI and cloud computing, including deals with tech giants like Google and OpenAI.



Add in the regulatory challenges, a constantly shifting digital advertising landscape and lawsuit settlements that risked sinking more costs into the advertising space, and it’s a line of business that doesn’t excite Oracle’s customers or investors like AI does. 

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