Oracle is one of the world's largest proprietary database software companies, and them buying Sun, the leading open source database company (because of MySQL) has the European Commission worried. "In the current economic context, all companies are looking for cost-effective (information-technology) solutions, and systems based on open-source software are increasingly emerging as viable alternatives to proprietary solutions," commissioner Neelie Kroes explained, "The commission has to ensure that such alternatives would continue to be available."
Between then and now, Oracle published a large advertisement in the European edition of The Wall Street Journal, making several promises about the future of Sun's SPARC and Solaris departments. Oracle promises to invest a whole lot more into SPARC and Solaris than Sun ever did. In addition, Oracle wants to integrate SPARC, Solaris, and Oracle software to provide a complete package.
However, in that advertisement, Oracle had nothing to say about the future of MySQL, the prime reason for the European Commission's worries. One of the possible remedies under investigation by the EC is Oracle spinning off MySQL. This, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has stated, will not happen, because MySQL and Oracle do not compete at all.
"MySQL and Oracle do not compete at all," Ellison said, "If you look at where we compete it's with DB2, Microsoft's SQL Server, Sybase, and a long list of others. We never compete against mySQL, it addresses very different markets." Ellison is worried about the delays, explaining it only hurts Sun. "The longer this takes, the more money Sun is going to lose," he said.
He also further reiterated Oracle's commitment to the SPARC business. "We are keeping everything," said Ellison, "We're keeping tape. We're keeping storage. We're keeping x86 technology and SPARC technology - and we're going to increase the investment in it. Sun has fantastic technology. We think it's got great microprocessor technology - it needs a little more investment, but we think it can be extremely competitive."
Ellison has his sights set on what he calls the 'old' IBM. "I would like us to be the successor to IBM," he said, "Not Gerstner's IBM. Not Palmisano's IBM. But when IBM was the dominant software company in the world and translated that to being the dominant systems company."
As silly as this sounds, my little Sun Ultra V, powered by a 64bit UltraSPARC IIi processor, is very happy. She may not be used very often, but she's happy her offspring will be given an opportunity to grow.