Oracle CEO says more tech can help offset tech's worst effects

Catz talks up company's feel-good efforts... Just don’t mention the margins

Oracle CEO Safra Catz has opened up about the motives driving the world-dominating enterprise software, database and cloud company forward.

Speaking to Nikkei Asia, the 25-year Oracle veteran said that despite its image suggesting otherwise, Oracle’s real purpose was to help humanity.

"If you dig under the surface of everything we do, it's probably motivated by trying to really advance humanity," she explained in response to some tough questioning which asked how Oracle uses technology through its business to benefit society.

Katz responded that moving customers to the cloud – which Oracle is very much in favor of – means that customers share resources and benefit from "real economies of scale."

"So, if they're a hospital, they don't have to worry about cybercrime and all of that. They don't have to worry about buying computers. What do they have to worry about instead? Their patients – making sure their doctors are well trained, making sure that they have enough time to spend with the patients," she told the media outlet.

It would take a sceptical observer to point out that on an earnings call in March, the same Safra Catz said Oracle operating margin was 44 percent for the third quarter of 2024, up from 42 percent in the same quarter last year, as Oracle "continued to drive efficiencies."

Catz, who receives a total package of $5.25 million, including a salary of $950,000, as well as the non-equity incentive plan rewards and other compensation, said she expected further efficiencies to be driven by cloud adoption among its healthcare customers using its Cerner electronic health records software.

"Looking forward, as we continue to benefit from economies of scale in the cloud and drive Cerner profitability to Oracle standards, we will not only continue to grow operating income, but we will also expand the operating margin percentages," Catz said in March.

But such details might cloud the true picture of Oracle's humanitarian purpose.

To Nikkei Asia, Catz offered another example of Oracle's altruism. The publication challenged her to say how Oracle could "reduce the negative aspects of technology and enhance the positive aspects."

Catz said in the early days of the world wide web, companies didn't want to go online for fear of alienating those who did not have access to the new medium. But putting services online meant companies could help more people without access, she said.

"Technology sometimes affects people unevenly. So what you try to do is get the savings from the technology and use it to help the people who don't have it, or can't change, or can't adopt it," she said. ®

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