Whether Oracle would be interested in continuing Sun's physical storage and server hardware businesses is another matter. Being the world's second-largest software company is probably enough, without entering into a whole second market. But let's not forget, Oracle has already released its own, branded hardware offerings with the help of HP. One could easily see it partnering with HP again if the numbers seemed sound, licensing Sun's technology for production on HP's manufacturing infrastructure. (In fact, one unsubstantiated rumor suggests that Oracle and HP have already proposed just that.)
So that gives us Oracle databases running on Oracle-branded servers and Oracle-branded storage hardware based on sophisticated Oracle storage technologies running on an Oracle OS. It sounds pretty good -- at least, if you're an Oracle sales rep. From a customer's perspective, though, I wonder.
Java, brought to you by Oracle
That brings us, finally, to the crown jewel of this deal for Oracle, which would be Java. Don't kid yourself: It's almost impossible to overestimate the importance of Java to Oracle. Java has become the backbone of Oracle's middleware strategy. And Oracle already owns BEA. What do you suppose it would be worth for it to become the leading provider of Java technology in the world, from the Java EE stack right on down to the core JVM itself?
Let's look at the numbers. IBM offered just shy of $7 billion for Sun. Oracle paid $8.5 billion for BEA, and that was after BEA rebuffed its initial offer of $6.7 billion. Mind you, Sun also rejected IBM's offer. But when Oracle wants something, Oracle gets it -- just ask PeopleSoft (which, by the way, set Oracle back $10.3 billion).
So let's recap. In this final scenario, we have enterprise customers running applications written for an Oracle-managed language platform, running on an Oracle-branded application server, which communicates with an Oracle database on Oracle-branded servers that talk to Oracle-branded storage hardware running an Oracle filesystem on an Oracle OS.
Oh yeah, and Oracle would own MySQL.
Of course there are a few stumbling blocks. Maybe Sun's aggressive efforts to open-source its entire software portfolio have made many of its assets seem like nonstarters for a company as focused on proprietary software as Oracle. Maybe Oracle wouldn't want to bother with licensing JVMs for mobile phones, Blu-ray players, and other consumer technology devices, which supposedly accounts for much of Sun's Java revenue. Maybe this is the wrong time for Oracle to get distracted from its ongoing efforts to consolidate its enterprise applications.
Or maybe, just maybe, we all might live to regret Sun turning down that offer from IBM.