Oracle acquires Sun and looks towards integrated system

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Database and business applications software house Oracle stunned Silicon Valley and Wall Street on Monday morning with the acquisition of Sun Microsystems for $7.4bn. The move follows the breakdown of acquisition talks between Sun and IBM in recent weeks. Jon Wilcox and John Stokdyk report.

The suprise factor has to do with the functional fit between the organisations. IBM shared some common ground with Sun - it also manufactures hardware and is an enthusiastic supporter of open source software including the web-friendly Java programming language that Sun invented. But for Oracle, the deal brings it into the intense, low-margin hardware industry and gives it ownership of new software products, including Java and Sun's Solaris variant of the Unix operating system.

Oracle CEO Larry El...

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21st Apr 2009 09:42

Couple of interesting follow-up points
Larry Ellison (quoted in Wall Street Journal): Java is "the single most important software asset we have ever acquired."

Biggest fear raised so far comes from the open source community, which is concerned about what sort of future the MySQL relational database system will have within Oracle.

Few observers are contesting Oracle & Sun's claim that this is an epoch-making deal, but hardly anyone (including the protagonists themselves?) can put their finger on how the merger will play out - and what the ultimate impact on typical users will be.

In an analysis piece on Ovum analyst David Mitchell commented: "We are now entering a market context where the 'big four' will equate to IBM, HP, Microsoft and Oracle. These suppliers will, between them, define a significant proportion of the IT market landscape for the next 10 years or more.

"Other vendors in the IT market need carefully to consider the traditional advice of 'get big or get niche'. There is limited potential remaining in the market for another player to acquire the scale that would take them into the 'big four' league."

John Stokdyk
Technology editor

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