Oracle and Sun take aim at Microsoft, IBM and HP

I'm at the Oracle/Sun announcement, sandwiched in the second row between news.com's Stephen Shankland and Gillmor Gang Steve Gillmor waiting for the wisecracking CEOs, Ellison and McNealy, to hit the stage at Oracle's conference center in Redwood City, CA.
Written by Dan Farber, Inactive

I'm at the Oracle/Sun announcement, sandwiched in the second row between news.com's Stephen Shankland and Gillmor Gang Steve Gillmor waiting for the wisecracking CEOs, Ellison and McNealy, to hit the stage at Oracle's conference center in Redwood City, CA.

Pre-announcement, Shankland is calling the announcement Snoracle:

Given that list of subjects and the fact that neither company has a shy and retiring publicity department, it's probably not too much to hope that this event will provide some concrete details and not just marketing fluff. The bar has been set pretty low: Sun and Google drew frenzied speculation but offered few details when they announced the Snoogle partnership in October. Even a few scraps of detail should be enough to keep people from snoring through Snoracle.

McNealy and Ellison come on stage. McNealy asks if Oracle is buying Sun and Ellison jokes that Oracle's way is to do everything in a hostile way. Laughing and more banter. Larry says, "Let Google make a network computer, they are young and foolish," referring to his failed forays into creating a network computer.


McNealy talks about being open and collaborative, Ellison seconds the notion and talks about competing on price and performance versus Microsoft's proprietary direction. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, McNealy says.

Ellison praises Java, saying the Oracle is rewriting all applications in Java. He takes a shot at SAP, saying they are continuing to write applications in ABAP, not Java. User will prefer modern, standards based systems.

McNealy announces that Oracle is signing up for 10 more years of Java collaboration with Sun. IBM did the same at JavaOne last year.

Ellison says he sees Sun and Oracle competing in middleware, but working together to make sure the technologies co-exist.

McNealy outlines initiative the two are working on, such as upgrading Oracle RAC for Sun, Fusion Middleware hot-pluggable for the Java Enterprise System, new multi-core pricing.

The two companies will have joint developer days, go-to-market programs and joint advertising campaigns.

McNealy says Solaris 10 is the preferred environment for Oracle, and Ellison praises new hardware from Sun that are "performance and cost effective."

McNealy says we will see a clear focus on "going for share."

(That seems a little more aggressive than the "sharing" marketing campaign Sun ran last year.)

McNealy says that Sun will bundle server, storage, licensing, support into an Oracle database package that will be unbeatable, 25-percent less expensive all in than competitors...and no IBM global services required (his usual snipe at IBM).

We'll basically give you a free Oracle database and a year of free support from Oracle, McNealy said of the new bundle, based on the UltraSparc IV or IV+.

Sun migrating to latest Oracle ERP software. (More horse trading)

Advice to Sun and Oracle employees:

  • Take your Oracle/Sun counterpart ot lunch
  • Get out and sell
  • Hammer the competition
  • Prefer Oracle on Sun (over IBM)
  • Java rule, .Net drools



Ellison: Only 5 percent overlap in business activities with Sun.

Ellision: In a sense we are both promoting standards--our LDAP is better than his [McNealy's]...it's important those supporting the same standards win against proprietary.

McNealy: Good to have Sun and Oracle win...low barrier to exit with multiple competing interchangable, hot pluggable parts...compared to Microsoft.

Sun versus IBM and relationship with Dell

Ellison: We have multiple partners...we compete, cooperate with multiple partners and have a close relationship with Dell. The new line of 64-bit machines that compete with Dell are wonderful piece of engineering and very attractive. We tend to get in with winner. We have a close relationship with Dell, but the Sun 64-bit line is a very compelling set of machines. [Maybe Dell will actually start shipping

Agreement with NetBeans

Ellison: We have own development tool Jdeveloper and we are very involved with Eclipse, but we certainly think that the NetBeans initiative is important in the market place and we are watching it very closely. [Ellison sound that enthused...more horse trading]

Sun and Microsoft collaboration

McNealy: We aren't going to go there in this conversation...this is all about our partner Oracle today. This isn't the forum to do that. [Why not just answer the question??]

Oracle database bundle with Sun systems

McNealy: Pricing will be announced as line item on price list and effectively look like a no extra charge with one year service contract from Oracle. 

Closing remarks

Ellision: We are looking forward to the renewal of the relationship and going to market.

McNealy: We've  worked very hard to show collaboration and cooperation.. our message  is with [Sun Fire] Opteron and per core pricing an UltraSparc OEM agreement we are at or way better for Oracle products than anybody else....We've taken the proprietary and high-cost moniker off of Sun and we are providing or low cost, open products.

My take: Not exactly Snoracle, some horse trading that gives Oracle some goodies (Sun helping to drive sales and becoming a marquee Oracle ERP customer) and Sun some lift in Oracle banking on Sun's 64-bit systems and Solaris 10 for large scale implementations. After the presentation I asked Anil Gadre, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Sun, how he viewed the relationship. "First, Oracle renewed its Java license for ten years," Gadre said. "Second, Sun gets more aggressive in bundling Oracle licenses to take share from IBM and HP, and third Oracle support for NetBeans."

I get the first two, but support for NetBeans seems lukewarm. In any case, Oracle and Sun have mutual enemies. For now its a marriage of convenience, and the two will continue to compete with each other and do whatever they can to grow revenue and share together and separately as the landscape changes. In addition, Sun--the champion of the open source community--is being opportunistic in promoting Oracle's so-called standards-based database, which isn't exactly open like open source.

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