Sun and Oracle
A couple of weeks ago, the rumour was IBM to buy Sun. Now it’s not IBM but Oracle, and not a rumour but a press release and conference call.
In pure business terms, it feels like a potentially better fit. IBM and Sun are direct competitors in so many lines of business, and I’d expect competition authorities to be concerned about such areas as top-end servers and storage, where they are two players in a very small field. Oracle and Sun have long been technology partners where the businesses complement each other, but have relatively little overlap. Worryingly, one area where there is substantial overlap is Glassfish/Webstack vs WebLogic (née BEA).
Another question must be over corporate culture: Sun the laid-back techie hive of innovation, vs pinstriped, business-focussed Oracle. I hope Oracle will preserve and build on Sun’s committment to open source in the projects it will inherit, but it doesn’t have IBM’s (let alone Sun’s) track-record of playing nicely with FOSS. Oracle’s conference call was very clear about its committment to core software assets – particularly Solaris and Java – which is encouraging, though to be expected.
At this point I started writing about some of those areas I know and care about more directly than the above generalities. But I guess I shouldn’t be jumping the gun there, so I’ll shut up.
The bottom line of the conference call makes a lot of sense: Oracle is now positioned to be a one-shop provider of all computing and consulting needs to the enterprise. There’s only one competitor who can make a comparable claim – and that’s IBM.