In July 2008 I published a post in my Vendor Survival series. In the post titled Will SUN Microsystems Survive until 2018? I argued that Sun will not survive and named IBM, HP and EMC as companies which may think of Sun as target for acquisition. My opinion was supported by Sun discussing with IBM the possibility that IBM will acquire it. However, Sun attempts to being acquired by IBM failed.
Sun's board was divided to acquisition supporter (Jonathan Schwartz camp) and those who opposed the deal (Scott McNealy camp). Instead of being purchased by IBM for $7 billion USDs, Sun is going to be acquired by Oracle for approximately $7.4 billion.
I never thought of Oracle as a potential buyer of Sun or any other hardware vendor.I still think that Oracle's decision to buy Sun is probably wrong.
Oracle was always a software vendor and adding hardware to its products portfolio is a major business model change.
In addition, Oracle will face difficulties in continuing partnerships with server and storage vendors such as HP, Dell, EMC, NetApp and at the same time competing with them with Sun's servers and storage devices.
Assimilating all the acquired applications vendors (PeopleSoft, J.D Edwards, Siebel etc.) with Oracle is a big challenge, due to overlapping products lines, cultural and organizational issues and technological issues. Deciding which infrastructure products should be strategic: BEA's or Oracle is another issue. As far as SOA is concerned you can read my view and other views commented in the following posts: Oracle's BEA acquisition: SOA perspective, Oracle's BEA acquisition SOA perspective – Revisited, Oracle's BEA acquisition SOA perspective – Revisited againAll these yet unresolved challenges are augmented by the SUN acquisition.
The two leading advantages cited where:
1. Availability - The company quoted an objective test showing that MySQL and Oracle where the most stable databases.
2. Simplicity - By omitting frequently unused features the company claimed a friendlier, easy to develop, easy to maintain and easy to manage database.
Killing MySQL is not an option, but Oracle database is the company's flagship product.
- Less innovative MySQL
- A Niche Player MySQL. Similar to the way Oracle positioned RDB many years ago.
- Competition from other Open Source databases as well as from MariaDB (MySQL version developed by Michael "Monty" Widenius, the founder of MySQL and former MYSQL workers, who left Sun after MySQL acquisition).
- Oracle will own the JCP
- Two strong leaders in the Java community: Oracle and IBM
- BEA's Weblogic as the strategic Application Server. Sun's Application Server will gradually fade.
SOA & Cloud Computing
- Three Oracle's SOA suites: BEA, Oracle and Sun. I see no reason to change my predictions that BEA's solutions will dominate. The company started already to build a comprehensive Fusion Middleware solution including BEA's and Oracle's SOA products.
- Few Sun's (formerly SeeBeyond) SOA infrastructure elements will be added to Oracle's future SOA suite.
- Heterogeneous Java integration (Integration of multiple different JEE Application Servers) elements are candidates for inclusion in oracle's future SOA suite, because this is Sun's SOA solutions strength.
- Sun's innovative Cloud Computing solutions will play a key roll in Oracle's Cloud Computing strategy
Operating Systems and Servers
- RedHat Linux is currently Oracle's preferred Operating System. Now oracle owns Open Solaris UNIX operating System and should decide upon Operating Systems strategy: UNIX centered? Linux Centered? Or both.
- Dual approach for the next few year
- Linux domination for Long Term
- New Linux variant including some Open Solaris capabilities
- for Long Term: SPARC chip End Of Life and Intel/AMD based Oracle's Operating System
The Open Source community may face challenges due to possible changes in Oracle's strategy in two components of the LAMP architecture: Linux and MySQL.
It should be remained seeing if Oracle will change its strategy towards less Open Source support.
Another Sun's Open Source project, Open Office could be ill positioned after the acquisition.
Whatever decision taken by Oracle, I think that the Open Source model will continue to be a leading model, especially during the current Recession.
Sun's acquisition is part of the Market Consolidation trend described in a previous post: Vendor Survival Guide: Supermarket, Grocery and Kiosk.
- Expect for a tougher competition between: Microsoft, IBM and Oracle. Google, HP and Cisco will continue to be market leaders.
- The probability of SAP's acquisition by IBM (see my post: Vendors Survival: Will Microsoft Survive until 2018?) is higher due to the tougher competition between IBM and Oracle.
- The winner in the traditional Applications market from Sun's acquisition by Oracle could be SAP due to less vendor neutral Oracle and more resources allocation by Oracle towards merging efforts.
- If Dana Gardner is right and the SUN's acquisition is by Oracle and HP i.e. Oracle will sell all hardware Lines of Business to HP, some of my conclusions are wrong. Even if he is right I do think that Oracle paid too much for MySQL, ownership of the Java Process and Cloud Computing solutions. As far as the last topics concerned, SalesForce.com could be a better and cheaper acquisition target.