So Oracle got Sun – but why?

I guess I am missing something. Maybe I’m just dumb. But I don’t understand why Oracle bought Sun – unless it was just so Larry could stick two fingers up to IBM.

Am I the only one? The Oracle marketing material has a number of claims as to why the purchase makes sense. In an open letter, the Oracle President points out that

Oracle can now ensure continued innovation and investment in Java technology for the benefit of customers and the Java community.

Hmmmm. As long as SUN was bought by someone, eg IBM, this would have happened anyway. All Oracle has done is take on the cost of doing this for the good of the industry. It couldn’t turn Java into a more proprietary platform because that would destroy the brand. So that doesn’t explain it.

And again,

Oracle plans to engineer and deliver an integrated system—applications to disk—where all the pieces fit and work together

OK – so Oracle plans to sell Solaris boxes with Oracle DB and middleware software preloaded. Well – yes, but is this going to work? IBM’s figures yesterday confirmed that hardware sales have taken a beating so far this year, with customers looking for more cost effective options. As people look at virtualization, or using a cloud, is the outlook for server sales that convincing? And if Oracle sees this as a crafty way to get Oracle DB licenses into new customer sites, this is a real stretch – one of the hardest things customers ever do is decide to migrate between DB suppliers. Admittedly, SUN Solaris is the most popular operating system for Oracle databases, so there may be some new sales to be made making things better integrated for Oracle/Sun clients, but I can’t believe this is too extensive.

But perhaps this points to the real reason for the acquisition. SUN was losing money hand over fist, and could have been in danger of running out of steam….and while any purchaser would look after Java, they might not be so friendly towards Solaris. To reiterate the position, in Oracle’s own words in its open letter

The Sun Solaris operating system is the leading platform for the Oracle database

Was the real reason that Oracle couldn’t risk Solaris losing its vitality, or even worse falling into enemy hands? Was this, in fact, a purely defensive move, forced on Oracle by IBM’s stated interest in SUN? This seems the most likely reasoning to me.


Posted in Imported, Oracle, SUN, Vendor news.

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