Last week at Oracle's headquarters in Redwood Shores a number of us had the opportunity to be present for the Oracle announcement of the finalizing of its takeover of Sun. We were there coincidentally for a meeting of the International Oracle User Community (IOUC) and were invited to be part of the audience for the announcement. A parade of Oracle execs, starting with Co-President Charles Phillips and ending with Larry Ellison, delivered a consistent and cohesive message about Oracle's strategy to merge Sun into Oracle's ecosystem. All presenters emphasized that Oracle sees this as an opportunity to integrate applications, hardware, middleware, database, operating system,services and storage into a coordinated unit that will give Oracle the ability to maximize efficiencies through the entire stack. They consistently offered the message that this ownership of the entire stack will provide an opportunity to quicken innovation, increase performance, reliability and security, while shortening deployment time and lowering the total cost of ownership. Is that realistic? They made a good case on the technical level but we will, as always, have to wait and see how the concept is implemented.
I was happy to see that Oracle made a point that they would follow the lessons they learned from the acquisition of Peoplesoft. We all saw major changes in the Oracle culture after 2004 when, admittedly slowly, Oracle learned from both the retained Peoplesoft staff and the Peoplesoft client base that they needed to operate differently from what they had done in the past. And, again happily, they did take that message to heart. Here with the Sun acquisition, they are trying to minimize the anxiety among the Sun clients and their user groups by publicly stating that they will continue support for the Sun product line including mySQL, along the same lines as their "Apps Unlimited" strategy for their other acquired companies.
What was not addressed by any of the presenters, including Larry Ellison, was how this might affect the overall business model at Oracle and whether clients will gain or lose negotiating flexibility in contracts for any of the new Oracle products. This is the major concern of most of the CIOs and CFOs I have talked with on this issue. Again, we will need to see how this materializes over the next year or so.
We will begin posting more detailed information on HEUG On-line, giving you links to Oracle's presentation materials that spell out their strategy in more detail. Look for announcements on HEUG's home page within the next few days.