Did Oracle just become relevant?

My second tech industry post in 12 hours but this is big news …

Oracle to buy Sun in $7.4 billion deal

In my work life I’ve never had much to do with Oracle. They dealt with the big end of town. In the few times I’ve tried to connect a front end to Oracle ODBC drivers, or when my wife did an Information Systems paper and had to install a personal version of Oracle, I just shuddered. Far too hard.

But Oracle knows how to make money and has a rock solid business.

The quick thoughts that this brought up for me are

  • Oracle would be completely vertically integrated: hardware, OS, database, languages (server and client) and potentially end user access devices
  • They get MySQL, the Open Source database they always wanted
  • They get Java

IBM must be spinning. They were in the value erosion acquisition dance, and probably thought they were the only game in town.

Microsoft was surprised.

But apparently Ballmer, who is rarely at a loss for words, didn’t exactly have a sound byte at the ready.

“I need to think about it,” Ballmer told reporters in Moscow, according to Reuters. “I am very surprised.”

As I mentioned yesterday, the secondary effects of these teutonic changes are what interest me. Small Business is Microsoft’s home turf. Now Oracle, who completely get SaaS, have paddled themselves into a powerful challenger role. This will be an accelerator for the big guys like Microsoft to make defensive and offensive moves.

Oh to be a fly on the wall in office 5202.


Dermott Renner
April 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Some commentators don’t think they want MySQL and think they will kill it. They may have bought Sun because the majority of their big databases run on Sun gear and if Sun went out of business Oracle would suffer big time.

Oracle don’t get small business at all and I agree with your comment about how hard it is to use.

All Suns hardware manufacturing is built under contract so they could scale that back although I think Larry may be looking to compete in the data centre market.

Anyone for Xero on Oracle?

James MacAvoy
April 21, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Oracle won’t kill MySQL, it is already fragmented and if they tried then MySQL users could jump to something like PostgreSQL. If there’s a gap in the market then it will be filled anyway.

I think what Oracle have planned is something far smarter.

Oracle bought Innobase, which offers InnoDB under commercial and GPL terms. Oracle is going to accept the trend of open source software in the database market and provide a clear pathway to moving to Oracle products.

Oracle also has Solaris, complete with the lovely ZFS. Oracle’s databases are already deployed extensively on this OS, so it is natural Oracle will want to take care of it. It probably won’t stay free, but who knows, maybe they’ll polish it up and it could become a Ubuntu competitor.

Maybe they’ll develop a brilliant tie in between Solaris and Oracle database technologies and provide some cool roaming environment and redundancy features. God knows what will happen to Java with browsers and OpenOffice though… maybe they’ll keep them running as an option and to make Microsoft sweat.

Amazing how with one purchase they’ve crept up on Microsoft in so many spaces. The fact they expect an extra 1.6B in profits in year 1 and a further 2B in year 2 makes the purchase fantastic for them – cement the OS, the hardware and the database in one fell swoop.

Crazy IBM didn’t do it.

Craig Walker
April 21, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Personally I quite liked working with Oracle – it does require a slight shift in mindset to really get it humming but it’s extremely powerful once you know what you’re doing.

I expect them to keep MySQL going – MySQL is the database of Web 2.0 (and beyond) and I doubt they’d want to change that. Oracle doesn’t have an entry level version so MySQL would be it. MySQL isn’t as easy to administrate as SQL Server – what if Oracle built a great administration tool that enabled enterprises to look at MySQL more favourably? Suddenly it starts playing in a game that MySQL hasn’t really competed in before. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Oracle/Sun started offering database appliances – complete servers with databases pre-installed. Interesting times.

Falafulu Fisi
April 22, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Good move because Oracle will not kill Java.

Peter Idoine
April 22, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Hi Rod, you are welcome to come and meet with me at Oracle NZ.
As you know I have reached out to you before.

Regards Peter

Rod Drury
April 22, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Hi Peter, Exciting time for you guys. Congratulations. Rod

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