Tuesday 21 April 2009

Oracle to buy Sun

This blog is typically about stuff I'm doing, but having invested 10 years in working with Sun kit, I think this deserves a comment. I'm not particularly qualified to make an informed contribution to the Oracle buyout discussion, but since that doesn't stop most Slashdot commentators, here are my observations:

1) It could have been a lot worse. If IBM had bought Oracle, they would have two directly competing CPU architectures (POWER and SPARC), two directly competing Unix implementations (AIX and Solaris), directly competing storage, Java development tools, application servers, databases etc. The long term outcome would have been that some of these technologies would have been sunset and development consolidated.

2) It could have been much, much worse: HP could have bought Sun. See DEC/Digital and the Compaq merger to see how that would have played out.

3) Sun seems to get a bad rap from the Slashdot crowd, but the number of people who are dismayed that their favourite Sun product is under threat highlights the significance that Sun has in the market. This is especially telling when you see that the object of dismay is one of many different products: Solaris, Java, OpenOffice, Virtualbox, MySQL...

4) Oracle have now migrated from being a software solutions house to a total solutions provider. Although there is talk that Oracle will sell off SPARC to Fujitsu, or port everything to x86, the reality is that SPARC is a very lucrative platform for Sun and will be a revenue generator for Oracle. In fact, Oracle now own a very good portfolio.

5) In the last 12-18 months, Sun has "got" Open Source. I'm not sure Oracle has. Hopefully the Sun culture will impact Oracle (remember how NeXT "absorbed" Apple after being bought?).

So although I'm no expert in the area of business, the future for Sun might be okay after all. Time will tell...

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