Eye on Oracle

Sep 14 2009   9:01PM GMT

Larry the hardware guy sends IBM a message

Shayna Garlick Shayna Garlick Profile: Shayna Garlick

It was less than a month ago that many Sun customers were concerned about Oracle’s silence on the future of Sun’s hardware.  But it looks like Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison has taken the first steps in breaking that silence.

While Ellison is usually known for his memorable quotes and speeches, this time he took a different approach for getting his point across.

Last Wednesday, Oracle ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal. The ad, which also ran on Oracle’s web site, lays out Oracle’s plans for Sun’s hardware and operating system, specifically SPARC and Solaris. The ad, which can be seen here, is aimed at Sun’s customers assuring them that Oracle will spend more money developing SPARC and Solaris than Sun has, have more than twice as many hardware specialists and dramatically improve the performance of Sun’s hardware.

But what’s missing from the ad?

As  Infoworld’s Savio Rodrigues points out,  Oracle fails to mention anything about MySQL. According to Rodrigues, this could be for a number of reasons — for example, it’s understandable Oracle makes no mention of any of Sun’s software products like MySQL or Java, since Oracle already has competing products in the software business.  But as Rodrigues says, isn’t Oracle concerned in making sure that Sun’s software customers feel protected?

Well, maybe not. At least in this case, the ad may be geared more toward IBM and its recent fight against Oracle than reassuring Sun customers.  According to Information Week, IBM has been trying to win Sun customers from Oracle by offering “Sun-set specials” for those who migrate to their Power hardware running AIX Unix.

But now Ellison seems determined to not let IBM profit off the uncertainty of Oracle’s future with Sun, especially as the uncertainty grew earlier this month when the European Commission prolonged its investigation of the deal.

Ellison had this to say at the end of the ad: “We’re in it to win it. IBM, we’re looking forward to competing with you in the hardware business.”

What do you think? Is this a sign that Oracle is going to start divulging more information to customers about the deal? Or is this simply an attack on IBM?

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