Oracle snaps up Sun Microsystems

Oracle snaps up Sun Microsystems

Oracle's Larry Ellison believes that his company's purchase of Sun Microsystems will add $2 billion to profit in the next two years.

Sun Microsystems – current owner of the popular open-source MySQL database engine – is getting gobbled up by database specialist Oracle.

In a move which is unlikely to get the approval of Monty Widenius, Oracle is getting its sweaty hands on Sun's Java, MySQL, and Solaris operating system technologies in exchange for a whopping $7.4 billion (£4.78 billion).

As reported over on TechRadar yesterday, Oracle is looking to boost its Fusion Middleware offering – the company's fastest growing business division – with the acquisition of Sun Microsystems. In a statement, Oracle said that the deal offered “substantial long-term strategic advantages” while describing Java as “the most important software Oracle has ever acquired.

What the company is not yet revealing is the fate of popular open-source database engine MySQL: with Oracle having a vested interest in pushing its own commercial database engine, it's hard to see a place in the company's newly expanded portforlio for Widenius's creation.

Larry Ellison, chief executive officer of Oracle, claims the deal will make Oracle “the only company that can engineer an integrated system – applications to disc – where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves.” He also revealed predictions that the purchase of Sun will add a not inconsiderable $2 billion to Oracle's profit within the next two financial years.

While Sun has been courting buyers for a while now, the deal with Oracle has come out of the blue: according to CNet the announcement has shocked IBM and Microsoft, who were both investigating the possibility of snagging the company for themselves.

Do you hope that Oracle can push Java to the next level, or are you already mourning the seemingly inevitable demise of MySQL? Share your thoughts over in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
interzen 21st April 2009, 13:39 Quote
MySQL will survive, in one form or another - it's just that it won't be supported by Oracle *unless* they use it to replace the existing 'Oracle Express' product which, in my experience, wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. The codebase for MySQL has been forked at least twice that I know of so I think rumours of its demise are exaggerated. Quite apart from anything else, if your requirements aren't supported by MySQL then you'd probably looking at a more heavyweight database like Oracle anyway.

There are a couple of interesting scenarios going round at the moment: the first is that Oracle may have to spin off and/or sell MySQL to avoid too much attention from regulatory bodies - an intriguing notion. Almost as intriguing as why the hell Sun paid $1bn for it in the first place. The second is that all the hype is unjustified as Oracle will become just another company capable of providing all the products you need, from chips up to software, in one package. Rather like IBM.

I'm more concerned about what Oracle will do with Java - on the one hand if they can make the JCP process marginally less anal then I'm all for it. On the other, if they start applying their iniquitous licensing structures to it ... but again, as with MySQL, Java has enough momentum that making changes for anyone other than enterprise customers will be very difficult.

Note that I don't work for Sun but my girlfriend does - other than the email from Schwartz yesterday, nobody has a clue what's going on.

What I do know is that it's an ignominious end to a once-fine company, and the finger is pointing firmly at the top-end of management.
DaMightyMouse 21st April 2009, 14:44 Quote
Come on over to .net and SqlServer 2008 where things just work ...
interzen 21st April 2009, 15:04 Quote
Originally Posted by DaMightyMouse
Come on over to .net and SqlServer 2008 where things just work ...

When they're available on Linux and Solaris, we'll talk. Until then, I'll stick with what does work for minimal outlay.

Note also that the Sun/Oracle deal isn't carved in stone ... yet. Doing due-diligence etc. on acquisitions is never over and done with quickly, and with two companies of this size involved not only is the closing of the deal going to take time (Oracle reckon late summer - I reckon that's insanely optimistic) but there's plenty that could happen in the meantime. My predictions:

- MySQL will either be sold off or spun off in some manner to avoid regulatory hassles.
- Solaris and the various Sun storage products will stay more or less as-is. Scott McNealy wasn't bullshitting when he said that the
majority of Oracle installations run on Solaris. Oracle will look to make more money out of them though.
- Fujitsu get the hardware business - they fab the SPARC chips anyway.
- Java - who knows? Oracle do use it a lot in their middleware apps. Netbeans and GlassFish will probably be killed off in favour of
Eclipse and WebLogic, respectively.
- McNealy and Schwartz will get nice, fat payoffs whereas anyone in R&D or hardware will get pink-slipped.

If Oracle play their cards right this whole thing could work, but there's also a very real risk it could blow up in their faces. Depends on how badly Ellison wants a new yacht ...
Flibblebot 21st April 2009, 15:15 Quote
Originally Posted by DaMightyMouse
Come on over to .net and SqlServer 2008 where things just work ...
The problem is that MySQL is the database backend for an *huge* amount of websites, where it's used mainly because it's free and well supported. It's not feasible or economically viable for most websites to move to either MS or Oracle offerings. As Interzen said, if you're in a corporate environment, you're probably already using SQL*Server or Oracle anyway, so no change there.

As for Sun's demise, I'll be mourning them, they were a great company in the day. I think they got a little complacent during the Internet boom in the 90s, where most websites were run on Sun hardware - they got caught out when other hardware manufacturers started producing smaller, cheaper webservers. They then invested heavily in the thin client solution, which flopped dramatically, and then they really just kind of lost their way after that. A shame really, they were a really good company to work for.

I wonder what'll happen to all their head office buildings at Fleet now?
interzen 21st April 2009, 15:35 Quote
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
As for Sun's demise, I'll be mourning them, they were a great company in the day. I think they got a little complacent during the Internet boom in the 90s, where most websites were run on Sun hardware
Me too.
At the time I finished my first degree in the early 90s, a lot of the computer scientists I hung out with ended up working for Sun and you'd have found a lot of Sun hardware in computer science departments up and down the country. By the time I finished my PhD a few years later it was pretty much WinTel all the way (although much of my work was done on DEC Alpha machines ;-) )

The thing that saddens me though, at least from the point of view of my past career as a research scientist, is that I strongly suspect that Sun's R&D will get absolutely massacred. This is a real pity, since over the years they've produced some really cool stuff beyond the obvious (eg. ZFS, DTrace etc.) but their inability to monetise it has led to the inevitable happening.

That and inept management.
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
I wonder what'll happen to all their head office buildings at Fleet now?
I thought they were based in Camberley - I know that's where SWMBO went for a training course recently and she said it was taking place at the UK head office.
Flibblebot 21st April 2009, 16:43 Quote
Their head offices, a group of custom built buildings on Sun's own campus was at Fleet, J4A of the M3 to be precise. Their UK head office used to be in Camberley, but they moved to Fleet in something like 2003. I think they did keep the Camberley office as a DR site or something, though.
The_Beast 21st April 2009, 22:39 Quote
It did wonders for there stock prices, $6.69 to $9.15
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