In case you haven't heard, Oracle bought Sun... after being teased by IBM, and watching its stock price plummet, Oracle began talks with Sun last Thursday about possible acquisition...
If you were surprised, don't feel bad... Neither IBM nor Microsoft had a clue this was going to happen.
First thoughts... holy crap! Oracle sure saved Sun from becoming a part of the IBM beast... and now Oracle (more or less) owns Java, and has access to all those developers who maintain it. This is win-win for them both, in my opinion. Sun gets most of their revenue from hardware, which Oracle avoided doing for decades, so overall there's not much overlap in product offerings -- unlike last year's BEA acquisition.
The hardware-software blend is a compelling story... Imagine getting all your Oracle applications and databases pre-installed on a hardware appliance! Not bad... You could even get one of them data centers in a box, slap a bunch of Coherence nodes on each, and have a plug-and-play "cloud computer" of your very own.
Second thoughts... how the heck is the software integration plan going to work? Sun helps direct a lot of open source projects... including JRuby, Open Office, and the MySQL database... not to mention the OpenSSO identity management solution, and the GlassFish portal/enterprise service bus/web stack. The last two are award winning open-source competitors to existing Oracle Fusion Middleware products. Oracle now owns at least 5 portals, and at least 4 identity management solutions... unlike past acquisitions, existing Oracle product lines are going to have to justify themselves against free competitors. I can foresee a lot of uneasy conversations along the lines of:
So, Product Manager Bob... I notice that your team costs the company a lot of money, but your product line isn't even as profitable as the stuff we give away for free... Can you help me out with the logic here?
There are a lot of open source developers shaking in their boots over this... but I'm being cautiously optimistic. Oracle can't "kill" MySQL: there are too many "forked" versions of MySQL already, any one could thrive if Oracle tried to cripple the major player. Likely they will simply try to profit from those who choose to use a bargain brand database. Case in point, Oracle could sell them their InnoDB product, which allows MySQL to actually perform transactions.
Middleware is the big question mark... but with a huge injection of open source developers, products, and ideas, I'm again cautiously optimistic that -- after an inevitable shake-up -- the Middleware offerings would improve tremendously.
And Open World 2009 is going to be a lot more crowded...