It's Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco next week. I shall be queuing up with the masses of Oracle customers and partners in the vast underground bunker that is the Moscone Conference Centre to hear the words of wisdom from the likes of Charles Phillips, Safra Catz and of course Larry Ellison himself. It's always an astonishingly well put together event and one of the highlights of the software industry calendar.
But this year there's going to an added frisson. You may have noticed of late that Salesforce.com has been added to Larry Ellison's list of 'companies to take a pot shot at', alongside SAP and Microsoft. You may also have noticed that Larry tends to get a bit, shall we say agitated at the mere mention of the term Cloud Computing - despite the inherent contradiction of effectively owning NetSuite!
So who's that setting up on Tuesday next week for one of the Oracle OpenWorld 'fringe meetings'? Can it be...? Is it...? Surely not? It's Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, setting up shop to deliver his own message to the Oracle faithful. I also hear that Salesforce.com might have one of the more obvious stands on the OpenWorld exhibition floor!
Of course. Marc used to work with Larry at Oracle, Larry helped seed fund Salesforce.com in the beginning and both men still have enormous respect for one another, despite their seemingly opposing views of late on the future of the software industry.
But still when I think of Marc preaching the Cloud gospel in the Oracle heartland, I can't help recalling that old phrase about "only Nixon would go to China!".