5 Things That Sun Microsystems' Acquisition By Oracle Will Change

When Oracle made the announcement that it will purchase Sun Microsystems, it said in its press release that the combination is a natural evolution of their relationship and will be an industry-defining event.

Oracle purchased Sun and with it, a myriad of industry household names whose destinies will be changed by the recent events. Here are four things that will change as Oracle starts unravelling Sun Microsystems products and services offerings

(1) High-end hardware

Sun produces some great pieces of technology. Apart from laptops, it produces everything that any "Big iron" companies like HP or IBM can aspire to produce and more.

From their iconic Datacenter in a Box to their high end storage solutions and their SPARC processor technology, this is the segment that is more likely to undergo some radical change very soon.

Expect Sun's hardware division to be hanged, drawn and quartered and the pieces sold to Cisco and Dell for some significant money. This will almost certainly happen quickly to avoid any major irking from long standing partners like HP.

(2) Open Source

Sun Microsystems will be bringing two immensely popular open source projects: OpenOffice.org and MySQL. Although Oracle participates and offers many open source projects like Btrfs, CRFS and More, it still has to reach Sun Microsystems' level of commitment to the cause.

The acquisition is likely to harm Openoffice.org the most; back in October last year, Michael Meeks who works at Novell and is a very active OpenOffice.org developer, identified the "slow disengagement" by Sun Microsystems as one of the problems affecting the Opensource.org community.

Meeks own figures show that by the end of July 2008, Sun Microsystems committed only 20 developers to Open Office.org. Oracle's acquisition could well mean a complete divestment and if IBM - whose Lotus Symphony is based on OOO - doesn't rapidly take the lead, the whole project could be severely stunted.

(3) Java

Oracle says that Java "is the most important software Oracle has ever acquired" as it is "one of the computer industry’s best-known brands and most widely deployed technologies". Java is currently present on more than 5 billion devices including nearly 3 billion mobile phones, hand held devices and PCs.

With a developer user base of 6.5 million, the technology is a formidable cross-platform tool that will not only secure Oracle's Fusion Middleware future but also provide it with more control over directions it will take. Given Oracle's long story of collaboration with Java (since 1997), it is likely to leave the platform as it is, although it will be tempting to do otherwise.

(4) Solaris

With Java, the other crown jewel in the deal. Oracle essentially got its hands on the high-end business equivalent of Windows and Flash in one swoop. Not a bad deal really.

Oracle database software and associated applications are mainly deployed on the Solaris platform which, as in the case of Java, leaves Oracle totally in control of any future decisions.


Expect SPARC, like the Alpha family, to die out fairly soon. HP phased out the legendary DEC Alpha range of processors soon after acquiring Compaq and it is likely that history will repeat itself.

SPARC itself is tied to Solaris but given the fact that the latter now runs on all x86 platforms, this has turned the SPARC into a very powerful but also very expensive platform.

Like Alpha, Sun Microsystem's latest processors like Rock are very promising but Oracle's focus now fatally lies elsewhere.