Finally, after many months, Oracle's long-awaited acquisition of Sun Microsystems has been completed. Having joined Sun as part of the MySQL acquisition two years ago, I think it's a good outcome both for Sun and for MySQL. The vision behind Sun's acquisition of MySQL was right on: Sun wanted to become the leader in open source and use MySQL as a starting point to consolidate other open source products.
Back in 2008, after several years of layoffs and declining revenues, it looked like Sun had turned the corner and would get back on a path to sustained profitability. Unfortunately, while Sun's Sparc and Solaris technologies were ahead of the competition in the 1990s, they weren't price-competitive against "good enough" Linux running on commodity Intel boxes. It was a classic case of market disruption.
[ Relive the rise and fall of Sun Microsystems in InfoWorld's slideshow. | Get the scoop on Oracle's final takeover plans for Sun from InfoWorld's Paul Krill. ]
While Sun had plenty of vision, its timing and execution were subpar. Revenues came crashing down as the recession hit the financial sector. Wall Street lost confidence in the management team's ability to turn things around, and the stock fell below $3 a share in late 2008. The market capitalization of the company was under $2.7 billion, less than a quarter of its annual revenues of $13 billion. Ultimately, the board of directors lost faith and sold Sun out from under the management team.Oracle snapped up Sun in April 2009 for $7.4 billion, paying a 42 percent premium over the then-current $6.69 share price. While some questioned Oracle's strategy of getting into the hardware business, from a financial perspective, the deal was a no-brainer.