Questions remain after Oracle's BEA takeover

The chairman of the UK Oracle User Group has said that although the acquisition was a logical move, it is unclear what it will mean for users

Oracle's acquisition of BEA Systems was a logical move by the software giant but it remains unclear exactly what it will mean for users in terms of product roadmap and transition licensing.

That's according to chairman of the UK Oracle User Group (OUG), Ronan Miles, commenting on the $8.5bn (£4.3bn) takeover announced last week.

Speaking to ZDNet.co.uk's sister site, silicon.com, Miles said: "Looking at the marketplace, the acquisition by Oracle is a logical conclusion for BEA. I think that if you take it as given that BEA was ready to be acquired in what is an acquisitive market, then an obvious candidate for that is IBM. And would Oracle want IBM to buy BEA? I think probably not."

Miles explained that, as a significant number of people use Oracle databases in conjunction with BEA applications, Oracle would be keen to avoid IBM becoming the owner of that middleware.

He said: "My suspicion is this is much more a commercial decision based on an acquisitive market."

According to Miles, the addition of the significant BEA customer base — most of whom are using Oracle database technology — could be a major asset. Of the software BEA produces, Miles said: "This is really comparative plumbing to what Oracle has already got in the kitbag."

He added: "I think there is an interesting question now as to what Oracle is looking to gain technologically from BEA given the amount of effort that's been put into the Fusion middleware suite."

The two big questions for users are what the roadmap for the product line will be, and how transition licensing will be handled, but Miles is confident Oracle will handle this well. He said: "Oracle has learned not to scare away customers."

Commenting on the acquisition, David Mitchell, analyst at Ovum, said in a briefing note: "Oracle has already amassed a range of middleware products from organic development and through other acquisitions, assembling these into Fusion Middleware. BEA products are likely to form a part of this domain, with its standards-based architecture allowing this to happen."

For its part, Oracle said the acquisition brings together two companies "with complementary assets" that can "accelerate innovation across the combined companies' customer bases".

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