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Oracle Buys Sun

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After weeks of speculation of IBM buying out Sun, which failed to produce a result, today Oracle have swept in and bought Sun. The deal is valued at approximately $7.4 billion, or $5.6 billion net of Sun's cash and debt, with Oracle buying Sun at $9.50 per share.

"The acquisition of Sun transforms the IT industry, combining best-in-class enterprise software and mission-critical computing systems," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. "Oracle will be the only company that can engineer an integrated system - applications to disk - where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves. Our customers benefit as their systems integration costs go down while system performance, reliability and security go up."

This could be the most important decision made in the software industry for 2009. The Board of Directors of Sun Microsystems all approved the transaction that is due to close this summer subject to Sun stockholder approval, certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.Jonathan Schwarz is certainly happy with the deal: 

"This is a fantastic day for Sun's customers, developers, partners and employees across the globe, joining forces with the global leader in enterprise software to drive innovation and value across every aspect of the technology marketplace," said Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's CEO, "From the Java platform touching nearly every business system on earth, powering billions of consumers on mobile handsets and consumer electronics, to the convergence of storage, networking and computing driven by the Solaris operating system and Sun's SPARC and x64 systems. Together with Oracle, we'll drive the innovation pipeline to create compelling value to our customer base and the marketplace."

It seems like a sudden move, and one that Sun and Oracle both did well to keep quiet. I wonder what this means for Java developers. Are Oracle better owners of Sun than IBM? It's good for Solaris, does it have any effect on Java?


Reference: http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/index.htm


Rick Ross replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 7:19am

Oracle has the resources to take Java to the next level, but we can probably expect Java's emphasis to be even more focused on enterprise computing as a result of this acquisition. One thing is certain, Oracle definitely knows how to make money from middleware - a challenge which Sun has struggled with.

Presumably the folks at IBM are now considering alternatives, and it wouldn't surprise me if we begin to see major battles emerge regarding the ongoing evolution of key Java enterprise specifications. I'd like to hear a strong, clear commitment from Oracle regarding the openness of the JCP, and I hope they will preserve and improve on the community spirit of Java.

If Oracle quickly turned around and sold the hardware business to Fujitsu for $5B-$6B, then they would effectively have bought Java, MySQL and Solaris for nearly nothing. Does Oracle really intend to be in the hardware business?

Alex Miller replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 7:33am

Excellent comments Rick.  Seems like we are entering an interesting period for Java.  The JCP will now be dominated by two superpowers, each with very strong business motivations to control and influence the future of Java.  Obviously Oracle has the upper hand by controlling the JCP and the Java spec. 

I would love to see the "special" status of one company removed and the JCP become a truly open organization.  And while we're at it, we should resolve the field of use restrictions so ASF can finally be satisfied.  Thus allowing a Java 7 JSR to be created.  And I want a pony.


Jeroen Wenting replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 7:33am

Good news. Oracle has been good to products it acquires, often going so far as to replace their own products with the new ones.
And they're heavily invested in Java technology already, far more so than is IBM.

Rainer Eschen replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 7:36am

There already was a strong partnership between Sun and Oracle over a long time. Oracle on Solaris is a cool combination already. The same with the Bea products. So, there's no real efforts to create cool best-of-breed solutions. Although, the question is if Oracle is interested in all the Open Source stuff. Will Glassfish still be an Open Source alternative besides Bea? Or Netbeans and JDeveloper? No doubt, Oracle is a Java company. So, its a good deal in the long run for all JEE developers.

Thierry Milard replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 7:38am

I also cross my finger Oracle understand well that on the client side were Flash is doing a good job ... java has worked pretty hard thechncally to fight back. I mean 95% of the work gas been done :

- The update 12, 14 are getting closer and closer to Flash in startup

- Swing is improving good(finnally those kind of imrovements that simplify a developper life)

- (and javaFx is technically quite good)

- New Applet [please change name guys it sound so 90's] is finnally ... Internet frindly.


Now if all these good improvements could be even slightly better (more money and Swing-javaFx team) and if Oracle could find a nice way to tell the crowd... sun has been so bad on this job latelly !


GeekyCoder coder replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 7:43am

Similar questions raised over IBM's acquisition of Sun, what comparative products are to be killed in Oracle ? Is Sun still called Sun or been called Oracle Sun ?

 JDeveloper or Netbean


Jeroen Wenting replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 8:03am

"Does Oracle really intend to be in the hardware business? "
The press release on Sun's website (the Oracle press release is unavailable right now due to an application server crash, guess they need a more stable product :) ) hardly mentions hardware apart from Larry's quote about Oracle now having an end to end platform. It does however state the importance of Java and Solaris as being at the core of Oracle technology.

Dominique De Vito replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 8:42am

* the good:
- Oracle, as a buyer, looks like better than IBM

* the expected:
- while Larry is keen to fight other companies, like M$, OpenOffice may have a boost,
- Java support on the client side may increase too (Adobe as next Larry's target ?)
- in order to fight RedHat/JBoss, Larry may be keen to keep Glassfish
- NetBeans (versus JDeveloper), and other related OSS tools may still continue to flourish while existing communities are big enough (I imagine JDeveloper+NetBeans to merge, while NetBeans being the company-neutral stub and JDeveloper being proposed as NetBeans+Oracle stuff).
* the unknown:
- storage
- hardware solutions
- solaris

* the bad?
- MySQL developers may wonder about their work

Conclusion: not that bad... from a software point of view.

Jörg Buchberger replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 8:53am

In my interpretation of their statements, this reads as Oracle says, they want to keep hardware business:
"Oracle plans to engineer and deliver an integrated system – applications to disk – where all the pieces fit and work together, so customers do not have to do it themselves."
"How is this acquisition expected to impact any existing project, deployment, or services engagements? It is not expected that this transaction will impact any existing project, deployment or services engagement."
Read original documents here and here.

Umberto Zappia replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 9:01am

From a Java Developer prospective this says it all:

• Protects and extends customers’ investment in Sun technologies

  •  Accelerate growth of Java as an open industry standard development platform
  •  Sustain Solaris as an industry standard OS for Oracle software
  •  Continue Open Storage and Systems focus and innovation
This deal makes perfect sense:)

as stated here  Oracle/Sun

Jörg Buchberger replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 8:59am

It will be also interesting to see, ...
  • whether Java will be instrumented in some way to fight SAP and IBM
  • what happens to MySQL now

Jim Bethancourt replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 9:07am in response to: Alex Miller

Obviously Oracle has the upper hand by controlling the JCP and the Java spec.

Folks concerned about the Java Community Process and what happens (within it at least) can certainly get involved as individual or as a Java User Group for free: http://jcp.org/en/participation/membership

Of course, this doesn't mean that Oracle won't put things into Java that didn't go through the JCP (similar to JavaFX).


Alex Miller replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 9:20am in response to: Jim Bethancourt

You can't possibly argue that Sun and now Oracle control the JCP and the Java spec.   Sun controls the Expert Committees for SE and EE and pick 10 of 16 members and they have permanent seats of course.  They also contribute all of the resources to build the RI and release that as product.  So while "getting involved" is good, it's not going to change materially Oracle's ability to decide what happens with the spec.  Unless of course they decide to open things up (which would of course run against all business motivations against their rivals like IBM and SAP). 

Aljoscha Rittner replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 9:20am


FYI: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/04/20/live-blogging-the-oracle-conference-call/

8:37: Ellison: One of the reasons Oracle is so successful is that we buy companies that are number one. Sun Solaris and Sun Java programming language were instrumental in Oracle’s decision to acquire Sun. Sun Java is one of the industry’s best-known brands. It runs on hundreds of computers. Oracle’s Fusion business is based entirely on Sun’s Java. As a result of this acquisition, Oracle can continue to invest in its middleware business. Java is the foundation of Oracle’s Fusion Middleware and the single most important software we have acquired.

And here:


Oracle has been a leading and enthusiastic supporter of Java since its emergence in 1995. Today, Oracle is deeply involved in the EJB 3.0/JPA and JSF specifications and more than 100 other JSRs, as well as open-source communities such as Eclipse, Spring, Glassfish, and Apache.

 regards, josh.

Johan Compagner replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 9:23am

my feeling? this is the worst possible outcome ibm would be so much better. Java under or besides the eclipse platform would be the perfect solution, Ok both IBM or oralce are JEE minded (which i am not at all, developing swing/swt and web app solutions that are just plain old war files that run on all containters) but somehow i personally trusted ibm way more then oracle with java.

Don Strawsburg replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 9:25am

MySQL has to be eating inot Oracle's lowend database market, so they have made that problem go away.

I would not be suprised to see Oracle put NetBeans up against Eclipse.

Oracle needed a new JEE server, Glassfish will be a good choice.

And they get Java as a big bonus.


All in All, I think this is good for all envolved, Oracle, Sun and the Java community, the only loser I see in this is IBM.


Rory Marquis replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 9:45am

Jim Bethancourt replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 10:01am in response to: Alex Miller

Hi Alex, Didn't mean to argue, only point out that folks could get involved if they felt compelled to do so. Thanks for the interesting summary of how the guts of the JCP operate.


Coffee Jolts replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 10:43am


Osvaldo Doederlein replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 10:56am

I would prefer an independent Sun, but since this became impossible, the Oracle deal is the best thing that could happen for many reasons:

- Keeps Sun out of much worse hands (I'll say again: IBM would destroy much good stuff, not because IBM is evil but because their portfolio is so much redundant with Sun's that the writing was clearly on the wall for several great Sun technologies from SPARC to Glassfish and NetBeans).

- Oracle/Sun is a unique combo that will have all the tech and power to compete head to head against other top platform providers. Like it or not, we're now in the end of a long consolidation process (since the dotcom crash) and anything is better than a monopoly... even a quasi-cartel of a few giants with similar influence: IBM, Microsoft, Google, Oracle.

- Oracle's behavior with Java has been quite decent, if not stellar (but that's mostly second-hand opinion - I don't really use most of Oracle's Java products, would welcome comments).

- Oracle has zero hardware business, they're also lacking in the OS level (Enterprise Linux was basically ignored by the world) and development tools (at least Java; also mediocre success with JDeveloper). They clearly want to be in the OS and tooling space, and I bet that they want to be in hardware because they have no friggin' chance to really compete with IBM otherwise.

- Oracle used to love the Solaris OS, they were a tight partner of Solaris for a long time and Solaris was Oracle's primary development platform and its preferred deployment platform. In recent years Oracle drifted away to Linux but that was not for technical reasons, buth rather, flowing with market hype and also "divorcing" from Sun for several reasons (competing products, weakening SPARC/Solaris business). Solaris is the undisputed superior enterprise OS and Oracle's engineers should be thrilled to own it now.

Nothing is perfect and I have some points of fear; I hope 2009 closes with positive news on these. For one thing, Oracle already owns two JavaEE products and they shouldn't be in a rush to own a third one no matter how good, so Glassfish is probably at risk. OTOH, I can see Oracle killing their own JRockit VM to adopt HotSpot - JRockit has its own merits but it's a nich product (no one uses it for anything except running WLS), there's no competition to HotSpot as a general-purpose JVM and you can't forget derivatives like CLDC HotSpot, RealTime, etc. Oracle has no NIH problem, they are pragmatic enough to deprecate their own stuff when they buy something better. They will probably merge whatever particular tricks that JRockit does better into HotSpot and be done with it. Anyway, this is all speculation but it's great that Glassfish, JDK and many other things are open source, they can live even if Oracle moves everything in the wrong direction.

Mike P(Okidoky) replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 11:00am

Perhaps Oracle buying Sun is better:

  • Sun's Java and IBM's Java is duplication
  • Sun's Solaris and IBM's AIX is duplication
  • Instead of the world's 3rd largest software company (IBM) solely owning Java, the world's 2nd largest software company (Oracle) would create a competitive environment. Competition avoids monopolies, stagnation, gouging, and encourages progress.
  • There are no good alternatives to Java, both companies will stay on board the Java train.
  • Both IBM and Oracle are each the two most established companies in (serious) enterprise.
  • This deal creates a nice balance, and a great incentive for IBM to do more of that cool stuff they've done so far (they have done *way* more than many (especially younger newer folks) realize). In turn, if Oracle wants to advance in those new areas they just acquired, they better invest in it further. Laying off technical staff for either the Solaris or Java teams would be *VERY* unwise.

The only thing missing in Oracle now is client side gui and graphics stuff. Most think that enterprises might not need it, but perhaps some will. Kiosks, specialized interfaces in cars, airplanes, mobiles, etc. There is a lots of businesses Oracle can conquer still. I suspect more future acquisitions to be in that area. Adobe? Bizarre combination. Other gui-ie companies? Companies and individuals being able to harness JavaFX...
Imagine a suave cross platform JavaFX based data design tool...

Guido Amabili replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 11:09am in response to: Osvaldo Doederlein

Hey Osvaldo,

You said it all as usual.

Oracle is certainly a better buyer than IBM , sorry for all the Eclipse and Spring fans here...........




John Denver replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 11:45am

I think Java will be in awesome hands of Oracle and Java could be a more strong server side language than what Sun did. Sun wasted a lot of resource, time and money in JavaFX, we already have Flex/Flash. Also The Apache Fundation will have their TCK and all the isues resolved.

Alessandro Santini replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 11:51am in response to: Guido Amabili

I would better stare at the window and see what will happen. Oracle has all the interest at cashing in with Java and cutting off IBM from the Java game. I do not see this acquisition very healthy for java, on the contrary.

Alessandro Santini replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 11:55am

Sorry folks, I read a lot of extremely naive comments here. I think IBM is going to get out of the Java game, particularly if Oracle (as I expect and as I deem reasonable) will change the policies surrounding Java and the JCP. Oracle has all the interest in cutting off IBM. I do not think IBM is going to pay any royalty to Oracle for licensing Java. This will only weaken Java's position in the industry.

Alessandro Santini replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 11:57am in response to: Johan Compagner

I agree totally, although an indipendent Sun would have been much better, IMHO.

Osvaldo Doederlein replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 12:48pm

@Alessandro: It's impossible for IBM to "get out of the Java game". Do you have any idea of how much deep IBM is into Java? Their enormous line of WebSphere products is Java; their entire IDE line is Java; they acquired Rational, dumped all its legacy code in the sea (where it won't be missed by anybody) and rewrote that entire line of CASE tools in Java. If IBM puts all their Java products in a single code repository, that should be a multi-terabyte repo. They probably have more Java code than the next 5 top Java companies combined including Sun. Walking away from Java would cost IBM 10-20 years of work and billions of dollars to rewrite stuff, it's just insane.

Besides, there's noting that Oracle can do to harm IBM. Oracle could perhaps bring all future Java stuff private (close the JCP, stop renewing Java licenses when current ones expire, stop contributing any new improvements to open source projects, etc.). But in this case IBM could just fork the thing and maintain it themselves; IBM has the resources for that and in fact they've already done that at least twice (J9 and Harmony), so the only effect of bad Oracle behavior would be destroying Java as a multi-vendor standard... and this would be extremely bad for Oracle's own Java business. So I'm pretty sure that such scenario is not possible and I don't have to believe in the goodwill of Larry Elisson for that.

IBM and Oracle have no choice except playing well with each other. My largest clients use IBM servers and middleware (WAS, WebSphere MQ etc.), but they use Oracle as database. Neither IBM, nor Oracle is stupid enough to piss off their shared consumers for some short-term benefit.

JeffS replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 1:13pm in response to: Alessandro Santini

"I think IBM is going to get out of the Java game, particularly if Oracle (as I expect and as I deem reasonable) will change the policies surrounding Java and the JCP."

 Well, unless they have a ready made code base for Websphere, and RAD, built on another language or implementation of Java (maybe Harmony?), I don't see that happeing any time soon.

WebSphere makes tons of money for IBM, both directly through licensing and support revenue, and indirectly through the services the complex WebSphere helps generate for IBM Global Services.

 In other words, IBM can't abandon Java.  Maybe in a decade or two.  But not right now.

Alessandro Santini replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 1:51pm in response to: Alex Miller

Oracle has the upper hand but you would like Sun not to have the "special" status anymore. Personally I do not think Oracle purchased Java to make it (more) open. As you said, that is a game for two (I would add Google to the equation) where Oracle clearly will want to keep the lead. I can understand the most of you have something personal about IBM, but Oracle still does not look to me the best fit for Java.

Alessandro Santini replied on Mon, 2009/04/20 - 2:02pm in response to: Osvaldo Doederlein

Osvaldo, having been employed with IBM I know how Java is pervasive in their product offering but this is not, at least from my point of view, the point: it really depends upon how Oracle will manage the licensing and the evolution of Java in general. Sure, IBM and others may fork and build their own fashion - but still it won't be named Java anymore, would probably fail the compatibility kit and would diverge in specs and libraries over time. This would absolutely destroy Java. however this is not necessarily a bad thing, assuming that it will evolve in something better :) PS: I also see Project Zero as an attempt at escaping from the Java strings... don't you?

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