The last chapter for Sun Microsystems closes, and the next for Oracle begins as the software company adds hardware to its portfolio.
Stephen Shanklandprincipal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Oracle announced Wednesday it completed its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in a deal valued at more than $7 billion, a move that transforms the database and business-software giant into a hardware company as well.
Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle has acquired several large companies in its drive to out-consolidate rivals in the business computing technology market, sometimes launching hostile takeovers and sometimes prevailing over regulatory objections. This time, the difficulty was persuading European antitrust regulators who were concerned about the fate under Oracle of the open-source MySQL database software business that was part of Sun.
"My hat is off to one of the greatest capitalists I have ever met, Larry Ellison," Sun Chairman Scott McNealy said in a bittersweet memo Tuesday, bidding adieu to the company he helped found 28 years earlier. "To be honest, this is not a note this founder wants to write. Sun, in my mind, should have been the great and surviving consolidator. But I love the market economy and capitalism more than I love my company."
By giving it a place in the server, storage, and processor domains, the Sun acquisition means Oracle is a direct competitor to more companies, a complication given that it sells its database and other software for use on servers sold by those competitors. IBM already was Oracle's biggest foe, but others that have survived the consolidation wave include Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, and EMC.
With the addition of servers, storage, Sparc processors, the Solaris operating system, Java, and the MySQL database to Oracle's portfolio of database, middleware, and business applications, we plan to engineer and deliver open and integrated systems--from applications to disk--where all the pieces fit and work together out of the box. Each layer of the stack will be architected to improve performance, leverage innovation and centralize management so that IT will be more predictable, more supportable, and more secure. Customers will benefit as their system performance, reliability and security goes up and their system integration and management costs go down.