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Sun Microsystems Businesses Databases Java Programming Software IT

What If Oracle Bought Sun Microsystems? 237

Posted by timothy
from the ask-the-oracle dept.
snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister believes Oracle is next in line to make a play for Sun now that IBM has withdrawn its offer. Dismissing server market arguments in favor of Cisco or Dell as suitors, McAllister suggests that MySQL, ZFS, DTrace, and Java make Sun an even better asset to Oracle than to IBM. MySQL as a complement to Oracle's existing database business would make sense, given Oracle's 2005 purchase of Innobase, and with 'the long history of Oracle databases on Solaris servers, it might actually see owning Solaris as an asset,' McAllister writes. But the 'crown jewel' of the deal would be Java. 'It's almost impossible to overestimate the importance of Java to Oracle. Java has become the backbone of Oracle's middleware strategy,' McAllister contends."
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What If Oracle Bought Sun Microsystems?

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  • My Thoughts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:44PM (#27522307) Homepage Journal

    I think the two companies have some excellent synergies*. My biggest concern with Oracle purchasing Sun (as opposed to the other way around) is that there would be a culture clash. Sun is a very dynamic environment that fosters great new ideas. But unless those core competencies bubble up through Oracle, the Sun portion of the company would be strangled to death.

    Personally, I've always wanted to see Sun purchase Oracle. But I don't think that's happening at this point.

    * Warning: Corporate buzzword!

  • by goltzc (1284524) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:45PM (#27522341)
    I work at an Oracle shop. Most of my job is writing web apps that obfuscate base Oracle (applications) craziness. On the rare occasion I've had to actually dig into Oracle's Java code I have found my self trying to figure what kind of strange world they are living in. Most of their code seems to not only defy best practices but any semblance of good design.

    Maybe its just that the code I've seen has been outsourced stuff that came back in as unclean globs of code but it makes me a little leery to see where Oracle would take Java.
  • Am I the only one? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by More_Cowbell (957742) * on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:48PM (#27522371) Journal
    Am I the only one that hopes Sun changes it's mind about selling itself and succeeds on its own? I know they have made some big strategic errors that have gotten them where they are now, but it is a solid company (imho) with, from what I've seen, superior products. Grossly undervalued for some time now.
  • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Interesting)

    by epiphani (254981) <epiphani.dal@net> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:48PM (#27522387)

    No it isn't. That's Postgres.

    And with the current state of mysql, I wouldn't look at buying Sun for that reason at all. The other assets make far more sense.

    Plus, Sun and Oracle have both been major open source supporters, Oracle probably one of the single largest kernel contributor. That would be a good pairing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:49PM (#27522401)

    A lot of SAP stuff uses Java. You bet SAP will do everything they can to prevent Oracle buying Sun.

  • Re:My Thoughts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:08PM (#27522645) Journal

    But unless those core competencies bubble up through Oracle,

    What?

    the Sun portion of the company would be strangled to death.

    On what basis do you believe that?

    Personally, I've always wanted to see Sun purchase Oracle. But I don't think that's happening at this point.

    Considering that Sun is a drop in the bucket (around 5 billion market cap) compared to Oracle (~100 billion), I think you're right. Oracle's been much bigger than Sun for a very long time. Never mind the fact that Oracle's business model is very different from Sun's. It just wouldn't make sense for a traditional software business like Sun to buy a huge service-oriented business like Oracle.

    I'm not sure even when it would have been possible for Sun to acquire Oracle. The late 90s? I don't think they could have afforded it even then.

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:08PM (#27522651) Homepage Journal
    It would be quite ironic ... MySQL has had to deal with Oracle acquiring InnoDB and then Sleepycat (Berkeley DB) ... multiple times they had to rework MySQL's underpinnings because they didn't want Oracle to own key parts of the platform. If Oracle were to be in control of MySQL they'd be able to "un-deprecate" (reprecate?) those engines.

    I'd like to see that, actually -- Berkeley DB is an amazingly robust data store. It worked well with MySQL.
  • I am so not comfortable with Oracle [wired.com] being in charge of one of the remaining UNIX vendors... Better to see another UNIX license holder get them than that.

  • A Strategic Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hangtime (19526) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:17PM (#27522771) Homepage

    If they could both bury the hatchet for about 5 minutes, a joint bid by Oracle and IBM would actually make much more sense. IBM would take the Solaris platform and hardware, Oracle would take the ZFS, MySQL, and DTrace. They could then both jointly purchase and spin-off Java into an Open Source project or its own firm with each company taking a stake. Since both rely so heavily on Java and neither would enjoy the other firm owning the platform it makes perfect sense for it to continue as an independent entity.

  • by downix (84795) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:19PM (#27522821) Homepage
    I'm with you here.  Sun is very lean, and can survive the downturn with the cash reserve they have as/is.  If I was Sun, I'd redouble efforts into bringing more in-house, and consolidating positions of strength.  I'd also work on diminishing, or eliminating the departmental infighting that continues to plague them.
  • by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:22PM (#27522867) Journal

    NO, absolutely not the only one - that's my hope as well. But the truth is, Sun is a company that gave a lot to the world in which it exists, and monetized very little of it. It's the greatest open source contributor (Solaris, Java, OpenOffice, the SPARC architecture itself, NetBeans, ZFS... and I'm sure missing some, as Sun gave away HUGE amounts of stuff).

    Such companies don't usually succeed in a commercial sense. I'm tempted to say that Sun should cease to be a for-profit publicly traded company, and become either a state-sponsored institution, or private foundation, for the development of high-tech.

  • by CHK6 (583097) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:23PM (#27522877)
    The only way that deal would happen is if Oracle saw Java as a 8 billion dollar investment to own. Other than that the extras Oracle doesn't need by a long shot. The investment and money to keep all the other aspects viable would be worthless in the long run.

    Maintaining and investing into current and future hardware and software from Sun to fit Oracle's business model after the deal makes no sense. That's basically down grading Solaris and their hardware to database only boxes. When Oracle sells across the landscape on all OSes. Why the over head of an internal OS and hardware too?

    MySQL isn't an issue, if only a slight distraction. If Oracle took Sun, MySQL would slowly just get plowed under and absorbed. That's like mentioning that Oracle gets the fake ficus trees in the lobby in the deal too.

    If Java is all so important to Oracle so much so, that it requires Oracle to purchase Sun, then Oracle is in deep trouble, because then coded themselves into making a purchase with a language that threatens the very stability of the company.
  • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rackserverdeals (1503561) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:27PM (#27522951) Homepage Journal

    I agree. PostgreSQL is much closer to Oracle than MySQL is. Anyone that thinks MySQL is the best replacement for Oracle likely doesn't know much about Oracle.

    It seems that sun has done a bit with PostgreSQL as well. Too bad they bought MySQL. They should have instead invested in making PostgreSQL better, at least developing better replication and clustering. That way, PostgreSQL would have been an even stronger alternative to Oracle.

    Oracle used to have Solaris/SPARC as their main development platform, then they switched to Linux. That seems to have been a big blow to Sun. While Oracle still releases Oracle for Solaris/Sparc along with Linux, but the Solaris/x86 versions are always slow. I don't 11g has been released for Solaris/x86 yet.

    If I was Jonathan Schwartz, I would have rather put the $1bln they spent on MySQL on PostgreSQL. I don't think it would have even really taken that much either. I'm still just baffled over spending $1bln on a company that I think made $50mln in it's best year!?!?!

    Anyway... Oracle developers might not have been too happy about moving away from Solaris because they'd lose DTrace [intel.com].

    I thought I heard something about there being some bad blood between Ellison and Sun but I don't know what that was about.

    I still think Cisco should be more interested.

  • by WarwickRyan (780794) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:42PM (#27523163)

    Really, Microsoft are obviously the best fit to buy them.

    Just like in the days of Windows 3.1, Microsoft need an new OS to replace the old mess they currently have. Back then they nicked NT from IBM. Now they can have Solaris.

    They're obviously admirers of Java, given how they've effectively created Java++ (C#). So that's an nice fit. They'd also be buying their way into every single educational institution in the world.

    Finally they're well placed to use MySQL as the basis for the next version of Access, giving them a nice up sell to SQL Server.

    Sun shining through the Windows. You heard it here first, folks.

  • by olddotter (638430) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @03:22PM (#27523801) Homepage
    I have long thought that IBM or Oracle would buy Sun to control Java. Yes there are innovations that come out of Sun, but hold long can Sparc compete with Intel/AMD and Solaris compete with Linux. Sun just doesn't have the resources to win both of those battles. Java is their trump card, and they don't know how to monetize it. Unless they figure out how to profit off of Java, I see them dieing a slow death.
  • Sun + Oracle = Yay (Score:3, Interesting)

    by adpe (805723) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @03:32PM (#27523939)
    Let me tell you a story. I work in a professional environment in a 10k+ Person Organization. We decided we want to implement Identity Management. We chose the (Open Source) Sun Identity Manager, one of their enterprise products, based on J2EE.

    The documentation is horrible, but that's not what it's about. Our development machines run on a JBoss AS with a Mysql Repository. The performance is horrible, and I mean it. It's beyond bad, MySql gobbles up the whole server. It takes 95% CPU time and 2 gb ram for our (rather complex) queries.

    On our staging machine (running Oracle as a repository), the same tasks take 10% CPU and we hardly notice it happening.

    Needles to say, SUN thought it might be a good idea (for political reason obv) to include Mysql in their documentation as "supported", although no sane person would actually use it.

    I kinda forgot what my post has to do with this story. I just read "Oracle + Sun" and it clicked. I'm conditioned to think it's a perfect combination.
  • Re:Makes sense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vexar (664860) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @05:14PM (#27525269) Homepage Journal
    Feel free to use Oracle XE, which is a free for use version of the Oracle Database. I like how your comment was "MySQL is the best alternative to Oracle" instead of "DB2 is the best alternative to Oracle." Oracle won't buy Sun for a very, very specific reason: Oracle doesn't make hardware, and it isn't their business. Sun still makes boxes. Just because Oracle could buy Sun doesn't mean they want to or it is useful to them. It has to tell a meaningful story, not "we beat up the competition, bought them out, and control the market by default." Buying RedHat? Yes. All of Sun? No. Oracle did buy SleepyCat Software, which I think is great, because it shows their commitment to different solutions. Also, I think it gave them flexibility to put BerkeleyDB into a few of their products.

    Neil McAlister is a tool. Although he found a few supportive quotes to his point, he doesn't know anything about Oracle's view on software, much less what they think of Sun's "our products are so good, they're free" attitude. I think Sun has made several mistakes in the last 10 years, and Safra Catz and Charles Phillips don't particularly want to clean up the mess. Where's Neil's quotes from Oracle? Did anyone notice those were completely absent from his article? This is just foolish speculation, not based upon any analysis of Oracle itself.

    Having worked with Cisco, I don't think they want Sun, either. For the same sorts of reasons, it isn't a good fit for them. Sun is a loser bet, really. Cisco doesn't suddenly want to go from "a little software in support of their hardware" to something insanely complex like Sun. It just isn't a company that can lead it. IBM was a good fit because they can do hardware and software and operating systems pretty dang well. So, who does that leave? Anyone? Yes. SGI comes to mind for me, too. Can they? Probably not. Would they? Still not so sure. They did both try the "put our Unix on an Intel" idea and failed, so at least they screw up the same way. I sense some compatibility there.

    Oracle's money is better spent on making their current acquisitions stronger products than in acquiring a messy company. They aren't after the Sun staff. The good ones have all be competitively hired by the likes of IBM and Oracle already. I sure wish someone on Slashdot who has a friend who is a CEO would pass on the importance of not losing "intellectual capital." You can blame the economy or the 'tards in Washington, DC all you want, but when you get right down to it, a company is people. You lose the right people, you lose the magic, and the company will fail soon after. I think, therefore, that because Sun has lost their magic, and their minds for rejecting IBM's bid, They will continue in a smaller, weaker way, or soon be sliced into divided sales.

  • by Nevyn (5505) * on Thursday April 09, 2009 @05:48PM (#27525635) Homepage Journal

    Stop right there. Sun is one of the biggest corporate contributors to open source. Go ahead, count lines of code. I'm betting Sun will be in the top two if not #1.

    Here's a brief list of things Sun has open sourced:

    • Solaris - Their entire OS, including ZFS and Dtrace
    • SPARC - Their CPU line
    • Java - Maybe you've heard of it.
    • OpenOffice - The office suite that ships with every desktop Linux distribution.
    • VirtualBox - A GPL desktop virtual machine.
    • NetBeans IDE - A multi-platform IDE.
    • OpenDS - LDAP Directory Server
    • High Availability Cluster
    • NFS

    Solaris was only "released" after Linux had repeatedly shown Sun that being proprietary was a bad idea. And even now OpenSolaris != Solaris, plus you won't need both hands to count the number of external contributors.

    SPARC, that's nice ... you know many OpenSource developers who have chip fabrication plants?

    Java ... yeh, after IBM, Red Hat, SuSE, GNU, etc. spent 10 years reimplementing most of it. And Mono had mostly implemented C# 1.0. So they were basically forced to open it, or become as irrelivant as they are in the OS world.

    OpenOffice ... yeh, well done. They had a flash of insight (for once) that they couldn't possibly compete with it without open sourcing it.

    Netbeans ... again was proprietary, got shot in the face by eclipse, was reluctantly released (hmm, sounds familiar).

    OpenDS - yeh, I know a lot of people using this instead of OpenLDAP or Fedora/RH directory server.

    NFS - They made a single code drop at the begining, to make it a std., so they could sell "the good implementation" which was only in Solaris (and never released until decades later).

    ZFS - Same deal, they've released it as narrowly as possible to try and make it a std. ... and it looks like BTRFS is going to shoot them in the face, just like something did every other time.

    So, sure, by lines of code dumped onto the 'net Sun are an open source company. In pretty much any other way of evaluating it though, they suck.

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