back to article Adios California, Oracle the latest tech firm to leave California for the wide open (low tax) Lone Star State

Oracle is shifting its California headquarters to the Lone Star State, saying a change of scene will "improve our employees’ quality of life and quality of output." "Oracle is implementing a more flexible employee work location policy and has changed its Corporate Headquarters from Redwood City, California to Austin, Texas," …

  1. macjules Silver badge

    improve our employees’ quality of life

    “Kindly move yourself and your family over a thousand miles to a new location to improve your quality of life. If you do not want to do that then you are no longer an employee and we do not care that your quality of life just took a change for the worst”. <beep>

    1. Beeblebrox

      Re: improve our employees’ quality of life

      I think that was IBM a year or two ago.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: improve our employees’ quality of life

      It's shifting the HQ, there's no suggestion that CA-based staff will be asked to move. Many may do so, the Bay Area is becoming a pretty shitty place to live these days.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: improve our employees’ quality of life

        The hope (for the people who already live there) is that moving people from a shitty place doesn't ALSO trend the place they move to into becoming "similarly shitty" because they brought their politics with them...

        I've also considered a move to Texas. California's getting pretty bad these days.

        1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

          Re: improve our employees’ quality of life

          California, from what I read about, has become neo-liberal hell.

          The auqifer in Central Valley has been drained so low that ordinary wells are no longer deep enough. All so that we can have inexpensive almonds. This madness with the driving of bees thousands of miles for the aformentioned almonds. The yearly wildfires that surely have something to do with the very low auqifer levels. The reports of smoke this autumn were not good.

          And there are the obscenely high property prices, NIMBYism on a grand scale, people living in camper vans and the general homelessness problem.

          I've long thought that America has a fundamental problem in its categorisation of people as 'winners' & 'losers', which is often called 'zero-sum thinking'. The fact that such a massive percentage of the population is $400 away from disaster. The massive lack of solidarity within American society has shown how rotten America is at heart.

          Or am I wrong?

          1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

            Re: improve our employees’ quality of life

            Coming from trailer trash roots, my experience is community can best be found around those that have less.

          2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: improve our employees’ quality of life

            To be fair, the water problems in California are at least as much the fault of the Federal government as the state. In particular, they're the result of bad policies created by the Bureau of Reclamation (which rivals the Army Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Valley Authority for the title of "most destructive US Federal organization"), and rampant corruption which let the Bureau ignore the only good aspects of those policies.

            The result was not just massive misuse of water resources, but misuse to benefit a handful of wealthy agriculturalists rather than the bulk of the state's population.

            (There are critiques of Cadillac Desert, but the updated edition is still the best accessible, general treatment of the water problem in the western US that I know of.)

          3. BGatez

            Re: improve our employees’ quality of life

            if by "neo-liberal" you mean wealthy scum like the head of oracle and the endless greed of real estate interests, then yes

      2. BGatez

        Re: improve our employees’ quality of life

        made so by tech companies making hovels priced like palaces and adding enormously to the homeless population

  2. VLSI

    Housing is... an issue.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Larry doesn't care where his employees live or if they have houses. Oracle's just using the cost of housing in the bay area to hide the real reason for the move - money.

      It's going to be entertaining to watch a bunch of tree-hugging Californians integrate with Texan gun-toting rednecks. Yee-hah!

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        The locals will enjoy watching them hugging giant cactus instead of giant redwood!

        Once they start spending their money on Texas built Tesla trucks everyone will get along just fine.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          re: Texas built Tesla

          Shame that the state laws in Texas prohibit Tesla from directly selling their stuff there. You can order online but that's it. Oh, and AFAIK, the Texas State legislature only meets a few times a year.

          One shithole of a state to another shithole.

      2. Robert Grant Silver badge

        I like that you think housing cost isn't about money.

      3. Jim Mitchell Silver badge

        "It's going to be entertaining to watch a bunch of tree-hugging Californians integrate with Texan gun-toting rednecks. Yee-hah!"

        You're not familiar with Austin, I guess.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        @AC

        Austin is just about as politically progressive as the Bay Area is. It's not San Francisco-progressive, but its definitely San Jose levels of progressive politics.

        1. Kristian Walsh

          San Francisco is only into the kind of progressive politics that don't require effort or money. They're happy to accept your right to choose whatever pronouns you want without batting an eyelid, but can come up with a thousand well-rehearsed arguments to show that building any new housing in a city with endemic homelessness is actually a bad thing.

          1. BGatez

            Uh huh, except it's not housing for the homeless but housing for the wealthy that real estate interests want to build. And more high rise condos in a major earthquake zone, like that pretty new sky high downtown building sinking and tipping.

  3. beep54

    Two things

    Austin no longer has a music scene, for the obvious reason (it'll come back eventually) The other is, do you know how expensive it is to live here? Probably not as bad as California, but it ain't cheap.

    1. jake Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Two things

      Last time I checked, it was less than half as expensive.

      A three bed, 2 bath, 1400sqft attached garage home on a .25 lot just South of San Francisco (where Oracle is was located) currently runs between 1.5 and 2 million. Dollars. US Dollars. The same home in Austin would be, what, 300 to 400K?

      Price of gas here in Sonoma is about $3.45/gallon, same in much of the rest of the Bay Area. Price in Austin, about a buck sixty (Sams or Cosco).

      Etc.

      Cheer up, the music will be back. Not even Oracle can fuck THAT up ... but I'll bet you a Lone Star that Larry will try if someone is jamming within earshot of his home. The man has no soul.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Two things

        Some parts of California are expensive. Most of California is as cheap as anywhere else. The problem is that everyone wants to live in a small area like the SF penninsula so it gets really crowded and very expensive. There's plenty of other places to live, especially if you're working remotely.

        Austin is quite a livable city but most of urban Texas is actually pretty naff to live in, you live there because you have to, not because you want to. Its also not that cheap -- sure, there's no state income tax, just endless user fees instead (they've got to raise money somehow). Its also not a good idea to become unemployed or sick in Texas.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: good idea to become unemployed or sick in Texas.

          There are plenty of both in TX at the moment.

          Texas is also a hotbed of sedition (Texas AG's case in SCOTUS with all those GOP lawmakers and Tweeter in Chief). Always has been an outlier state but in 2020, it became clear that many didn't want to be in the USA any longer.

          Trump won ok and 74 million will continue to believe it for decades.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Two things

        "Larry will try if someone is jamming within earshot of his home."

        But is he moving?

        1. BGatez

          Re: Two things

          larry can afford a dozen mansions

      3. WhereAmI?
        Coat

        Re: Two things

        He obviously believes in rock'n'roll though...

        Okay, poor joke but difficult to resist.

      4. BGatez

        Re: Two things

        OTOH you're still surrounded by a-hole texans

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Two things

      There are many US metropolitan regions that have much lower cost of living expenses than Silly Valley or Baghdad by Bay (Herb Cain's description of SF). Also, many of these areas do have a fairly strong tech area even if it is not as well known as Silly Valley so local/regional talent is available if the staff does not want to move.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Two things

        Herb Cain? The hockey player? Or did you mean Herb Caen?

  4. jake Silver badge

    About time.

    Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, Larry. You will not be missed.

    "Will other companies follow suit and leave the Golden State for cheaper climes?"

    We can but hope. Hopefully they'll leave en-mass. I'll bet it'll take less time to get life back to normal around here than it did for the fuckwitted imports to screw it up.

    I feel sorry for the fine people of Austin, though. Good luck, folks. You'll need it. All the rest of y'all, if you have never visited Austin, now is the time to go. It'll be fubared before long, and you'll miss out on what used to be a good thing.

    1. mevets Bronze badge

      Re: About time.

      Don't worry about the folks in Austin; they are used to dealing with assholes. Pull up a map.

  5. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    And in the year 2022

    Texas has a badly overloaded infrastructure, lots burned out employees, and starts wondering why mega-billion dollar corporations can't spare a few dollars of taxes.

    1. R Soul
      Holmes

      Re: And in the year 2022

      And this is different from the rest of the USA (or the world) how?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And in the year 2022

      Also pooing in the streets.

    3. low_resolution_foxxes Bronze badge

      Re: And in the year 2022

      California has the highest tax rate of the whole USA and some quite strange taxes, it is broke and seeking to drastically raise taxes again.

      Property tax is 0.7 to 1.25% of your property value per year paid to the government, own it for 40 years and you've basically paid half your mortgage to the state. A proposed new 54% highest rate of income tax on top. Rampant homeless tents everywhere (they recently made it illegal for the police to "steal" remove or push out homeless tents).

      California is worried its residents will leave due to all the new taxes. So they want a new rule that will keep these taxes in place for up to 10 years after you leave the state.

      So all in all. It's not just the rich who want to avoid taxes in this state.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: And in the year 2022

        The homeless problem is really an issue of climate -- many places you can't live outdoors year round, its too hot or too cold. Its one other reason to live here - you save a fortune on your utility bills, especially if you've solar panels and drought tolerant landscaping.

        Our daugher was in the oil business; she spent four or five years in Midland/Odessa. In the oil patch; landscape of thorn bushes and pumpjacks. The air had a nice niff of oil and the water was undrinkable (and you couldn't wash in it). Eventually she was tranferred to Houston. Large, not very nice climate to live in and then the hurrican hit. She was lucky, she ended up living on an island so was able to escape in her truck (you don't have cars in TX). There are other garden spots -- Amarillo, for example. All inexpensive. Ish. Housing costs ebb and flow with business dynamics; the daughter's not in the oil business any more, she got out before the latest bust cycle.

        The thing is, nearly everyone who tells me that Califrornia is finished doesn't live here. They say its expensive, citing taxes and stuff, and completely neglect the raft of fees that they pay in lieu of taxes where they live (no taxes/fees, no service -- there's no magic to this). I'm quite happy to let people think that the place stinks, its crowded enough in places as it is so the fewer who come here the better I like it.

        (PS -- I defy anyone to find anything in Dallas/Fort Worth)

      2. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: they recently made it illegal for the police to "steal" remove or push out homeless tents

        Well if the pigs can't do what they like to the homeless you really have gone to hell.

        Who cares about the homeless?

        1. elip

          Re: they recently made it illegal for the police to "steal" remove or push out homeless tents

          I imagine, the homeless.

      3. elip

        Re: And in the year 2022

        Tangent to this is at least one anecdote: my wife's company (a reigning Fortune 5-10 depending on the year, "Healthcare" provider) had stopped hiring out of California about 2.5 years ago. It simply did not make any financial sense. Her specific department hires a massive amount of RNs to work from home handling various triage duties that on-call doctors do not want to be bothered with. A typical experience level for this line of work is about 5-10 years of experience. Their RNs' salaries in California were somewhere around and often times *more* than most MDs in other states that they would be working on behalf of.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "A move now allows Oracle, HPE and others to sell off all that empty office space in California while prices are still relatively high "

    If they're trying to sell that much the prices aren't going to stay high for long.

    1. elip

      At least HPE is not. Their HQ building remains in the same place as always, nobody's forced to move. Other smaller offices (Aruba, etc.) might be closed, but mostly, not a huge sum to be saved in RE.

  7. LDS Silver badge

    Classic move of companies at the end of their lives...

    ... till now this is a classic move of companies at the end of the lives trying to make some more money with tax breaks and real estate sales before becoming no longer relevant. Anyway California became crazy on its own too - companies moving away could have some benefits on showing some costs have gone too far.

    Will Larry move his mansion and boats to Texas too?

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Classic move of companies at the end of their lives...

      Not really a classic move of a failing company. Many companies migrate there manufacturing and HQs over time as circumstances dictate. It could be that the loons running CA have made running a business very difficult and expensive that many companies will say adios as soon as they can.

      For example California AB5 makes using local contractors exceedingly difficult for all industries including freelance writers and photographers. So if you need some talent for a about a year in CA you have to hire them as permanent employees not as a contractor. In other states you could hire the person as contractor with understanding they are only onboard for the project. Both know in both situations the temporary staff will be let go but in the second case it is more honest and explicit. The contractor route is not necessarily abuse by the company. The intent of the bill was to harmer Uber but its effects are much more widespread. It should be noted that Federal law does have rules on who qualifies as a contractor versus an employee. AB5 goes much further than Federal law.

      On this side of the pond, states will compete with each other to get major company facilities built in their state. Some are more aggressive about it. States want the overall tax revenue these facilities will generate, this includes downstream taxes on new businesses, housing, etc. So companies moving to Texas or elsewhere is not now if their current location becomes intolerable.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Classic move of companies at the end of their lives...

        There's two sorts of contractor. Independent contractors, the ones that are likely to be affected by AB5, don't exist in our trade. The IRS won't allow it, it hasn't allowed it for years. It requires anyone who works substantially for one employer as a "programmer" to be paid as one with withholding and so on, just like a regular employee. The other sort of contractor is far more common and is in widespread use. These controactors are hired through a company, they're paid wages &tc. by the company and are to all intents and purposes employees except they don't have any employment protections (and stock options and so on). (The majority of developers working for Intel, for example, are "green badge" contractors rather than "blue badge" employees proper.)

        AB5 was really an attempt to deal with the abuse of casual labor by companies like Uber. These companies have business models that can end up actually costing the 'contractor' money because they don't fully amortize capital costs like the cost of purchasing and maiintaining a vehicle. The law wasn't that well worked out but is now moot due to successful proposition campaign -- Uber, Lyft et al chipped in some $200 million to get a Proposition passed that rolled AB5 back and -- just to get value for money -- prevented any further moves on ths without a seven eitghts majority in the Legislature.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Classic move of companies at the end of their lives...

      "Will Larry move his mansion and boats to Texas too?"

      Do you really think Larry-san would live anywhere that he might accidentally come into contact with a redneck? Hell no! That's for the Great Unwashed plebs, like Zuck and Bezos.

      Long and short: he moved to his private tropical volcanic island[0] a while back. Probably took his boats with. Left the mansions behind, one never knows when one might need to house an ex-wife (or four), or need reasonable accommodations on a business trip. No word on white Persian cat(s), nor if he has managed to smuggle in his MiG and various supercars.

      [0] No shit. He owns the island of Lana'i in the Hawai'ian chain ...

  8. chivo243 Silver badge

    Go west young man no more?

    I've heard rumblings that companies aren't not so happy with Cali... A few years back I worked briefly with someone working at a company based in San Jose, lots of anxiety about salary\living within commuting range. Change is good...

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: Go west young man no more?

      So you can't find peace of mind in San Jose any more?

      1. Imhotep Silver badge

        Re: Go west young man no more?

        Well, compared to Los Angeles. LA is a great big freeway.

  9. werdsmith Silver badge

    I lived in East Bay (Walnut Creek) in the 90s and life was getting a bit of a grind back then. Nice place and all that but getting a bit crowded and always the thought that the big one could hit anytime and the whole place might slip into the Pacific and suddenly Sacramento become a coastal city.

  10. Marty McFly Bronze badge
    Holmes

    It is not about home prices...

    ...it is about the cost of corporate real estate and how much is going to be needed in the future. More people working remote = less office space needed. If they need to break the lease to downsize, might as well break the lease for a cheaper location too.

    And from an executive level... California keeps flirting with laws that limit executive compensation. To borrow a quote from Mr. Miyagi about how to take a hit, "Remember, best block no be there."

    1. Jim84

      Re: It is not about home prices...

      Yes it is. If it costs your employees X amount more to live where your head office is without living in a tent then you have to pay them the extra or else they won't work for you.

      The companies and employees are not the bad guys here, it is the local landlords who vote for politicians who won't allow more housing development so that they can extract economic rents.

  11. DonM.

    Republic of Texas ?

    This is the same Texas where a state legislator is going to introduce a bill calling for a vote on secession (leaving the United States).

    I wonder how that might play into Larry's plans ??

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Republic of Texas ?

      He could be the VP in Trumpistan.

    2. onemark03 Bronze badge

      vote on secession

      A Texas dream.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: vote on secession

        Many of the people in the other 49 have the same dream.

  12. mevets Bronze badge

    No one expects..

    Our fourth weapon, fanatical devotion, requires a desperation to cross the finish line. This is integral to the valley mystique. People in the valley aren't particularly smarter compared to say those in Rochester or Minnesota. The special sauce is just a tarted up version of the carrot on a pole that has bamboozled generations of donkeys. When you can actually afford your lifestyle, destroying yourself to benefit a Chief Psychopathic Officer is a non-starter.

    If the valley empties, short BMW, Porsche, Tesla, ....

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: No one expects..

      Don't you usually post as amanfrommars1?

  13. Velodrome

    Meh. A ton of tech companies have offices in Austin. It's basically Santa Clara, TX. Now, Omaha would have been interesting...

  14. gkwest

    Where’s Larry going to sail in Austin?

    He’s moving the HQ to Texas but all the Oracle offices in California will remain? Bye!

  15. XPeterX
    Happy

    Good Move!

    Oracle is smart. If Biden takes office the taxes on corporations and small businesses are going to go to the clouds. All companies are going to have to reduce the number employees by large numbers. I'm getting out from where I live and moving to Texas because they care about their citizens.The quality of life is just plain better in Texas.

    1. TheRealRoland

      Re: Good Move!

      They will probably build a farm in the HQ as well - additional tax relief for this poor mega corporation!

  16. Mike Friedman

    Wait until people move to Texas and find out their property taxes are 5x higher than in California. When there’s no income tax the money for schools has to come from Somewhere.

  17. TheRealRoland
    Thumb Up

    Also the frothing of the mouth about how gleeful certain right-leaning pundits are about how 'the Valley is getting empty!' but then also 'but we don't want the politics of the workforce here to muddy up our current political climate!'

  18. Jay Lenovo
    Angel

    Bring your Money, Leave your Problems

    Does the typical Texan really want the people of Silicon Valley coming along as part of the deal?

    Texas cares about Texas.

    Migrants, helping the common man, not so much.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've worked in both areas. I couldn't live in San Jose because of the traffic congestion. Efforts to fundamentally change this have been half hearted for way toolong. The Bay Area is choking on it's own success.

    Sadly many cities / conurbations are moving the same way. With work from home finally going of age perhaps that will help. Larry is off the Hawaii after all ....

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No mention of the fact that Texas State Govt have spent more than $25 billion over the last decade paying California firms to relocate there? Texas has some of the highest property taxes in the nation the reason that it’s cheap for businesses to move there is because the state pays a subsidy to those business they reimburse the taxes for California corporations often for up to 10 years. I happen to know all this because I was one of the people who would answer the calls when our company was being actively solicited by the state agency.

  21. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Angel

    Keep Truckin'

    Perhaps they just want to avoid Californian traffic to the less congested more relaxed Texas road-system...

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