Oracle and Sun: The new IBM?

The even-more-cocky Ellison says he's taking a page from 1960s-era IBM to displace the iconic tech giant by offering a soup-to-nuts juggernaut

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Less significant, but still interesting on a day when Apple announced the hotly anticipated iPad, was Ellison's declaration that Oracle has no intention of entering the consumer electronics business. "I'm not sure Oracle is the right company to take on Apple. We're happy to do what we do well. Rather than telephones, we'll make Java that runs on cell phones," he said.

A strategy for a multipolar vendor world
The newly enlarged Oracle takes its place in what's becoming a multipolar enterprise universe. IBM and now Oracle provide large integrated stacks and hardware, while Cisco Systems is moving into the server business and is allied with EMC and EMC's VMware subsidiary. Hewlett-Packard, in turn, is moving into Cisco's territory.

In buying Sun, Oracle also acquires the Sparc microprocessor business, giving it the opportunity, as Ellison put it, "to sell an integrated product from the silicon all the way the application stack."

Executives here sketched out a vague road map for upgrading Sun's server processors. Oracle will release the third generation of Sun's UltraSparc T processor later this year, with twice as many cores, better floating-point performance, and a larger cache, said Mike Splain, who was senior vice president of Sun's microelectronics group.

Future chips will have new cores and higher clock frequencies, he said, though he didn't give release dates for those products. Oracle will also update Sun's M-series servers with faster chips in "the next 15 to 18 months," Splain said.

MySQL's future
In the normal course of things, a relatively small company caught up in the maelstrom of a $7.4 billion acquisition wouldn't get much attention. But the future of MySQL was a major issue as the European Union considered the merger, and a major worry for users and developers associated with the open source database provider.

All that worry ended up not scuttling the acquisition, but it still seems to be fresh in the minds of Oracle execs. At the Wednesday road map presentation, Edward Screven, Oracle's chief software architect, said, "We will make MySQL part of the Oracle family." MySQL will be part of Oracle's open source business unit and have its own sales force and development group.

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