Oracle: You've got such strong arms, Mr Pai. Oh, hello, Donald! We didn't see you there

Database giant still flirting with America's broadband watchdog

Oracle's co-CEO has sent another bizarre love letter to the head of America's communications watchdog, the FCC.

Following March's sloppy kiss – in which senior Oracle VP Ken Glueck, acting on behalf of co-CEO Safra Catz, praised FCC chairman Ajit Pai for his leadership for no apparently good reason and on topics that have nothing to do with the database giant – this week, Pai's push to end net neutrality rules led to another rose-scented missive [PDF].

"From our perspective as a Silicon Valley technology company," the letter swoons, "what should have been a purely technological discussion of managing traffic on internet networks has inexplicably evolved into a highly political hyperbolic battle, substantially removed from technical, economic, and consumer reality."

We love it when you talk dirty, Oracle. Go on...

"The concept that traditional internet access providers are exclusively transmitting unchanged data point-to-point is foreign to our own experiences and observations. And, focusing only on traditional internet access providers ignores the largest and most dominant internet players..."

Dominate us, Mr Pai...

"Given these technical and economic realities, we applaud your leadership in considering restoration of the 'information services' classification to broadband internet access service."

It goes on like this for a while: lots of hair-tousling, policy eye-twinkling and bicep rubbing. So, again, we have to ask the question: why on Earth is Oracle's top brass praising the head of a federal regulatory on topics that have nothing to do with its business?

Does Oracle send little love notes every time someone in government does something that a co-CEO personally agrees with?


The answer, of course, is Donald Trump and the bizarre dynamics of the new presidential administration – where heaping praise on anything that the President approves of, and lambasting anything he doesn't like, is an effective way of gaining political advantage.

It used to be that such blatant and aimless fawning would cause government officials to trust you less. But as we noted earlier, the FCC's chair Ajit Pai has also very clearly flagged that he is in the praise-and-damn-like-Donald box.

As we previously noted, Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz sits on President Trump's tech team and is serving as an advisor to him – something a lot of Oracle employees are unhappy about.

Aside from wanting to be noticed, Catz needs some Trump currency in her back pocket thanks to the company being sued by the US government over discrimination and the fact that it has been laying off employees (and trying to keep quiet about it).

If there has been one consistent element of the Trump presidency so far, it has been wild praise for companies that hire more American workers and lightning bolts at those that fire them.

The big question is: will it work? Does giving big slaps on the back to people at a time when others are questioning the logic and rationale behind their decisions really put you in a position of influence with them?

And the answer is: of course it does. It's just that government has typically prevented such people from getting into the top positions of government. ®

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