Customer line: “I’m a SORE customer…”
Rejected names: Sunacle? Too close to Unocal. Orasun? Sounds like a cloying dental product. Orsun? You could easily swap Ellison for Hearst in the remake of Citizen Kane…
Ok, so this isn’t a merger of equals. It is the end of Sun. Only Oracle survives. But this deal surprised me. I figured if Oracle wanted Sun, their well-oiled M&A machine would have swooped in a while ago rather than waiting for IBM to set things in motion, though there are rumors that Oracle made a joint bid with HP last year. They certainly could have gotten a better price. Did IBM get pulled in to play the second bidder? The extra dime Oracle is sharing is not exactly the sign of a bidding war.
- MySQL – you’d never know Sun owned it from the Oracle press release. Interesting market definition problem for the antitrust authorities evaluating this transaction. With MySQL’s European heritage, maybe we’ll get some more novel legal theory from the EU.
- Solaris – Oracle has been treating it as a legacy platform in recent years and it is hard to see Oracle being any more successful with Solaris vis-a-vis Linux than Sun. After all, Oracle’s Linux relationship is unbreakable… But the acquisition means Solaris can reestablish itself as Oracle’s choice for high-end deployments. Not clear whether Solaris remains a go-to platform beyond the database.
- Sun’s Hardware Business – this definitely gets flipped to HP, Fujitsu, an Asian up-and-comer or someone else. Sun doesn’t have the share and Oracle has too much invested with partners to go to the vertically integrated model (not even IBM can sustain the vertically integrated model and they invented it). Oracle must already have a plan here (is there another shoe to drop with HP in the next few days?). The hard part is how to minimize the atrophy during the long road to closing the deal.
- SPARC – Oracle wants nothing to do with this. Maybe Fujitsu will take it.
- StorageTek – hope someone does the math on how much value got destroyed with this acquisition. Sun bought this company just as disk became cheaper than tape.
- OpenOffice – this deal could be a big boost for OpenOffice, as Oracle can’t resist an opportunity to tilt at Microsoft, especially with Microsoft driving more and more integration between the Office suite and the back-end applications that are Oracle’s bread and butter. Oracle can provide OpenOffice a value proposition beyond price.
- IBM – they got a good look at Sun, but in the end I suspect they’re going to regret not doing this deal. They regretted giving Microsoft control of the software crown jewels for the PC; they may face similar situation now on the server. Oracle can have a lot of fun making IBM choose between open systems sanctimony and controlling their own destiny. That of course assumes there is more relevant innovation to be had around Java. IBM should have figured out how to get through regulatory approvals or how to cut the company up into piece parts to get what they wanted.
- Integration Risk – this is a very different deal than the other big acquisitions Oracle has done. Sun customers are skittish as is and there is minimal maintenance gravy train here. Whereas Sun offered IBM access to a bunch of net-new customers, I suspect Oracle is already in all of Sun’s accounts. Serious layoffs ahead at Sun regardless of how it plays out for Oracle.
- Consumer/Embedded Java – not exactly high on Oracle’s priority list. Maybe it finally gets liberated in gesture of openness/misdirection by Oracle. Maybe they can sell it to Google. It fits nicely with the Android (lack of) business model.
- Open Source – will be interesting to see if any of the projects Sun open-sourced get fork and/or critical mass. Some argue Sun has already lost control of MySQL.
- Timing – I need to go back and look at the sequence, but Oracle has been pretty good since their acquisition parade began at timing deals in such a way that they help their year-on-year comparisons. Never forget Oracle is managed financially these days. This might explain why they didn’t pull the trigger on Sun earlier.
What did I miss?