Oracle cuts Java execs

Oracle To Report Quarterly Earnings
REDWOOD CITY, CA - DECEMBER 16: The Oracle logo is displayed on the exterior of the Oracle headquarters on December 16, 2014 in Redwood City, California. Oracle will report second quarter earnings on Wednesday. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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It looks like Oracle is paring back its Java team. There were reports last week on Twitter and Reddit, picked up by Infoworld, that top Java evangelists have left the database giant.

Cameron Purdy, a senior vice president for development and a noted Java evangelist, left Oracle (ORCL) in August after more than 8 years at the company, according to his LinkedIn bio.

In a few tweets, he indicated that this was Oracle’s decision:

Last week, Simon Ritter, a Java evangelist, also announced he will be gone “joining the ranks of the unemployed” after a month of consulting in a Facebook post.

JavaOne is a conference held concurrently with the main Oracle OpenWorld Conference in October. Oracle did not return calls on Friday seeking comment. Fortune also reached out to Purdy and other executives named on Twitter for comment and will update this story as needed.

Java is a popular computer language for developing (mostly) enterprise applications. Oracle acquired Java by virtue of its $7.4 billion buyout of Sun Microsystems in 2009. At the time there was worry that Oracle, arguably the most commercial of the commercial software vendors, would try to profit from Java, which is typically a free download. Indeed, Oracle sued Google seeking licensing fees for Google’s use of Java in the Android mobile operating system.

Oracle has seen its dominance in enterprise relational databases under pressure by a new generation of non-relational databases and is also behind competitors in cloud computing deployment (although it would never admit that.) That means the Redwood Shores, Calif. company is realigning priorities, devoting more resources to its now all-important cloud effort. Last year, executive chairman and CTO Larry Ellison turned up the volume on his cloud messaging, so expect to hear more about Oracle’s cloud plans at Oracle OpenWorld.

As part of that cloud push it’s been trying to poach top talent from Google (GOOG) and other companies. Cutting Java staff executives may be part of a rebalancing to free up more resources for cloud. Oracle sources said that teams have been shifted from development of software that runs on-premises to the cloud deployment model.

Oracle, like other legacy IT companies that were broadsided by Amazon (AMZN) Web Services’ cloud juggernaut, is struggling to catch up. IBM (IBM), for instance, is busily trying to sell off patents in non-core technologies at the same time it’s snapping up patents in cloud computing.

Another Java proponent noted on Twitter that seeing people like Purdy leave Oracle “makes me think again what Java really means to the company.”

For more on Larry Ellison’s move from CEO to CTO, check out the video.

This story was updated at 11:32 a.m. EST with additional detail on who was terminated.

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