So the news is out about Oracle acquiring Sun. It's an interesting acquisition from several perspectives, even though I'm still surprised that Oracle and HP did not team up on this deal (with Oracle getting the software and HP getting the hardware). I usually try not to engage in too much speculation, but playing "what if" with this deal is just too good to pass up. So let's have some speculative fun, shall we?
IMHO, the highlights of this deal are Java and Solaris:
- Oracle has built Fusion Middleware on Java and, assuming this deal goes through, Oracle will own Java lock, stock and barrel. Although I suspect Oracle will still support the open community model, I expect they will attempt to drive the development of future Java standards rather than simply participating.
- So far as Solaris goes, Oracle can now engineer a widely-used operating system in conjunction with designing their database, middleware, tools and applications. This could lead to better synchronization between the various components in the software technology stack. I don't see much of a long-term future for "Unbreakable Linux" as Oracle's offering in the enterprise operating systems space now that Solaris is in the Oracle corral.
I'm speculating that MySQL is a non-starter here. One thing I don't anticipate is Oracle continuing to grow and support MySQL as a product. From my perspective, Oracle is first and foremost a database company with their own Oracle database product line. I think it's up to the MySQL community to keep it going...probably not a bad thing if you're a MySQL user.
Another consideration, so long as we're having fun here: Oracle's acquisition of Sun could really give some legs to OpenOffice. How many enterprises would consider OpenOffice as an alternative to MicroSoft Office if OpenOffice offered superior integration with their Oracle products? Hmmmmm...just a thought.
The hardware portion of Sun offers the most interesting opportunity for speculation (and make no mistake, this is all speculation...I have no inside scoop here). I can see it going any one of a number of ways:
- Sun's hardware business has recently evolved into a supply-chain based operation. Oracle could simply shut down that supply chain and let the hardware business fizzle out. Admittely not likely, but possible.
- Oracle could spin the hardware business off to another buyer (HP? Dell?) or as a separate entity.
- Oracle could jump in and compete in the hardware marketplace.
- Oracle could take the Apple integrated design and sales approach; offering integrated enterprise systems. Offering server, storage, operating system, middleware, development tools and business apps in several levels of integrated, "turn-key" enterprise systems may be a compelling product line for many customers. The value proposition would be ease of use. Imagine taking the iPhone-Touch-iPod-Shuffle approach to the design and sale of enterprise systems.
Whether any of my speculation is accurate or not, one thing is for certain: as I write this, we're in the early hours of a change that will significantly alter the landscape of enterprise software. Oracle can now truely offer products throughout the enterprise technology stack, with the exception of a web browser for thin client presentation. Gosh, I wonder how much the Mozilla team would want for Firefox?
OK, I was just kiddin' about the Firefox comment...don't anybody start a rumor here. In fact, all this speculation has been more in the spirit of fun than anything else. I'm not at all tapped into what Oracle's leadership is thinking here; those folks are proving to be much smarter than I am. In fact, I'll be many of you have a better perspective about this deal than the thoughts I've laid out here. Why don't you hit the comments and share with the rest of us?