Sun buyout leaves Aussies divided

Summary:Opinions are mixed amongst Australian chief information officers, partners and analysts on whether Oracle's plans to buy Sun Microsystems will end up with a positive or negative result.

Opinions are mixed amongst Australian chief information officers, partners and analysts on whether Oracle's plans to buy Sun Microsystems will end up with a positive or negative result.

It puts Sun into a home, but the problem is that Oracle will cut the hell out of Sun in terms of cost and staff. But at least Sun customers have one less throat to choke. Anyone working for Sun should polish their CV.

Hydrasight analyst Michael Warrilow

Jetstar chief information officer Stephen Tame said customers may be concerned at the loss of Sun's Java and OpenOffice.org products to Oracle.

"Organisations look at Java and OpenOffice as a few of remaining challenges to the software giants and monopolies. With the ownership and management of these technologies now locked up inside Oracle, the broader software communities may well be poorer for the outcome," he told ZDNet.com.au.

Others, such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia CIO Michael Harte, saw the acquisition as being more positive. "Especially if SOA is all about services orientation," he said. "Sun's Solaris and Java assets would be valuable for Oracle."

Jonathan Rubinsztein, co-chief of one of Australia's largest Oracle consultancies, UXC subsidiary Red Rock Consulting, said it was a great move: "From a hardware perspective, Oracle will be able to start offering a completely vertically integrated offering, from the box to database to applications. I think it does give them an offering that no one else has."

Rubinsztein reckoned the acquisition would send alarm bells to both IBM and Microsoft, given Oracle's ambitions to control unstructured data now that it has an Office competitor.

"This would be a threat to IBM and Microsoft. The success will lie in the execution, but if you take, for example, some of the OpenOffice applications and integrated that into a compelling database architecture that was integrated with a document management system, you have something unique and competitive to Microsoft," he said.

Sun's hardware customers within the banking, government and telecommunication sectors were likely to benefit from an Oracle acquisition, according to several analysts, because Sun has found a home after years of uncertainty over its future.

"This is just the end game for Sun that's been going on since 2000," said Intelligent Business Research Services hardware analyst, Kevin McIsaac.

Michael Warrilow
(Credit: Hydrasight)

Despite the immediate certainty offered by Oracle, McIsaac added, Sun customers will need to devise a plan for any Sun hardware refreshes due in five years time, while certainty would hinge on Oracle's plans for Sun's Australian staff.

"There will be nothing bad about this unless all the Sun employees left," said IBRS's McIsaac.

Michael Warrilow, technology analyst for Hydrasight agreed, but said the future for Sun staff was not bright. "It puts Sun into a home, but the problem is that Oracle will cut the hell out of Sun in terms of cost and staff. But at least Sun customers have one less throat to choke. Anyone working for Sun should polish their CV."

Whatever happens over the next year, Gartner analyst Phil Sargeant said ownership by Oracle would be a far better outcome for customers than if IBM had succeeded in its pursuit of the company.

"They can feel more confident that it's going to happen with Oracle. I think they would have been more concerned if it was IBM, because there was a lot of overlap and a lot of things would have disappeared," he said.

As for Oracle customers, IBRS's McIsaac said it would make little difference to them. "They don't care about the hardware," he said. "The best thing that will come out of this for Oracle customers is the ability to ask for preconfigured machines which Oracle would build from the ground up."

Topics: IBM, Government : AU, IT Priorities, Open Source, Oracle

About

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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