Near the end of this morning's announcement (at 5:30 a.m. Pacific time) of Oracle's lightning acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Oracle co-president Charles Phillips gave a glimpse of what lay in store.
The merger of Oracle, with its wide range of database and enterprise software, with Sun, with its Solaris operating system, Java programming language for Web applications and high-performance hardware, would make it possible tightly integrate everything a corporate customer might want, from application to disk storage. Server hardware and software, operating system, virtual machines, storage.
This could lead to, in effect, shrink-wrapped suites of hardware and software for specific sectors of the economy, from retailing to banking to communications. He called this delivering "a complete industry in a box."
The promise is that corporations will have what they've always said they wanted: one neck to choke.
Oracle will deliver, now, soup to nuts computing services for the enterprise. It can deliver a "true system with consistency" because it will be responsible for, tweaking and rationalizing all pieces of hardware and software a customer will need. It won't be a system integrator. It will, instead, have an integrated system, that it expects will give it a leg up on IBM, SAP or even HP, even if it relies on HP to continue to provide HP Oracle Database Machines.
What you're really seeing from Oracle is a complete computing industry in a box.
Here's the tally of big names in enterprise computing sucked up by Larry Ellison and crew in the last five years:
- PeopleSoft, human resources software, $10.3 billion, 2005
- Siebel Systems, customer management software, $5.85 billion, 2006
- Hyperion, enterprise performance management software, $3.3 billion, 2007
- BEA Systems, enterprise software, $8.5 billion, 2008.
- Sun Microsystems, high-performance servers, Solaris operating system, Java programming language, $7.4 billion, 2009.
This is clearly a case where the sum has become greater than the parts.
This is why Oracle had a market cap when Monday began of $95 billion and its historical ally and would-be peer, Sun Microsystems, a value of $5 billion.
And why it now can put an entire computer industry's wares inside a Sun (someday to be rebadged "Oracle") box, ready to run and later upgrade, monitor, and fix remotely. With additional Oracle software and services.