Oracle's $8.5 billion dollar buyout of BEA dramatically shifts the enterprise applications software market once again, as well as additional pressure and opportunities for Red Hat's JBoss Division -- and the whole open source apps community in general.
The deal, if approved, expands Oracle's immense enterprise applications software kingdom, and should give CIOs pause before signing over their souls to Larry Ellison. Although Red Hat is still digesting its acquisition of open source middleware JBoss, as well as its appointment of a new CEO late last year, the company should move fast to capitalize on its powerful rival's key weakness: its never ending quest to own the aps market and lock in customers.
For years, Red Hat and other open source backers have pointed to freedom and choice as the most valuable assets offered by open source. At the same time, proprietary database giant Oracle has worked feverishly to amass a virtual monopoly in the enterprise applications software market, extending its iron grip into the middleware and SOA space in an effort to lock in customers and stymie IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat and the spread of open source itself.
Make no mistake: Oracle''s acquisition binge has put an end to the "best of breed" apps era and while irritating its traditional rivals also increasingly pits its proprietary software stack directly against the emerging open source software stack.
Sure, Oracle launched its own brand of Linux but no doubt the gesture was a not-so-veiled slap at Red Hat for buying JBoss. Any CIO who hopes Oracle will offer its most lucrative apps -- including WebLogic -- under the GPL or anything like it are dreaming.
The time is right for Red Hat -- and other open source apps vendors -- to strike a blow at Oracle and turn up the volume on ithat vendor's lock-in strategy. The open source community has been quite vocal against Microsoft for existing at all, and yet has given Oracle a free ride. Why? Because Oracle offers its software on Linux -- Microsoft's nemesis?
Who is the real enemy of open source?
Even Microsoft has attempted to soften its stance with customers, pledging to make it software at least interoperable with leading open source offerings. Through its acquisition binge, it seems as if Oracle is trying to crush any and all prospects for emerging open source applications as well as those of proprietary rivals. Red Hat and open source companies should turn up the volume on this stratey and target nervous customers who may be tiring of the Redwood City, Calif. company's power play.