Just days ago we were all asking what Red Hat did to deserve an open assault from Oracle and possibly Novell and Microsoft.
Perhaps all that consternation was a tad premature. After all, the Novell and Microsoft pact on Linux isn't what it's cracked up to be and the two sides are already bickering. Novell even penned an open letter on its rift with Microsoft. So much for a hastily arranged reactive partnership.
That leaves Red Hat with only Oracle and Larry Ellison to worry about. A month ago Ellison made a big splash by announcing Oracle would support Red Hat customers. It was quite a shot across the bow.
For its part, Red Hat keeps plugging along, outlining what it plans to do with Jboss. And cooler heads seem to be rethinking some of the Red Hat obituary written a month ago.
--Thomas Weisel analyst Tim Klasell reports that Oracle's news was front and center on investor minds, but the impact appears to be "limited to relatively few high-end customers."
"Clearly, the threat from Oracle's entrance into the Linux market is the biggest topic on investors' minds currently. At the conference though, we didn't hear anything about Oracle from small- and mid-market customers and saw little or no interest from these customers in the offering. Where we do think Oracle will make a push with its direct sales force is with large high-end customers who are heavy Oracle users and have highly customized environments. The feeling is that these customers may be interested in receiving a support from a single source, like Oracle, or apply pricing leverage in deals large enough to warrant such attention. As a result, we would not be surprised to see some slippage in top 25 deals up for renewal, but think the broader market (especially revenue through OEM and partners) will not see much of an impact. We see the Oracle customer base representing less than 10% of Red Hat's revenue."
--W.R Hambrecht analyst Robert Stimson initiated the company with a buy rating today.
"The recent announcements from Oracle and Microsoft create an interesting dilemma for investors, however we believe that Dell, IBM and HP, etc., will stay the course and continue to support Red Hat. One of the key opportunities for Red Hat is the company's ability to diversify beyond its operating system roots. We believe the JBoss acquisition and its application server platform is a nice starting point, and may allow the company to further expand its open source offerings beyond basic systems management applications within the enterprise. We believe that the bulk of the sales force and R&D personnel issues are for the most part behind the company."
In other words, Oracle may hurt Red Hat, but not nearly as much as you'd think. As for Novell and Microsoft they have their own issues to sort out.