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Recurring Revenue: Article

The Oracle-Sun Buddyfest: What's It All Mean?

Larry Ellison Commits to Java For At Least Another Decade in "Town Hall Meeting" with Sun's McNealy

On the middleware front Ellison said that Oracle's entire middleware strategy will be built on Java and offered a 10-year commitment to the Java strategy.

Ellison emphasized "hot-swappable ease of use" for Oracle-Sun customers. In a toss-off remark that seemed to sail past McNealy (pictured), Ellison noted that if a hardware server should go down, everything would keep running. "It's unbreakable." On several occasions, McNealy emphasized ease of using by saying, of the Oracle-Sun package, "No IBM Global Services required."

McNealy indicated that the reborn relationship with Oracle will help "take the proprietary, high-cost moniker off Sun." A Sun spokesperson acknowledged that Sun's relatively high product cost, especially since the dot.com bust, had been instrumental in attaching the "proprietary" label to the company. Helping the company to shed that label has been the x86 Opteron platform championed by sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, according to the spokesperson. Ellison referred to this platform as "Andy's machines."

Ellison indicated that 95 percent of what Sun and Oracle do is "complimentary" and only 5 percent is "competitive." He qualified that assessment, however, by pointing out the two companies do compete within that 95 percent realm. And he also stressed that Oracle works closely with other platform partners. During this discussion, he almost let the Ray Noorda-coined term "coopetition" slip but held it in check.

McNealy noted that Sun was heading toward becoming an all-Oracle shop internally--"moving the whole company to Oracle." When asked what the town hall announcement meant vis-à-vis Microsoft, McNealy, again uncharacteristically, demurred, saying only that this wasn't the time or the place for such a discussion.

More Stories By John A. Barry

John A. Barry is a former managing editor of InfoWorld and former editor-in-chief of DBMS Magazine. He also worked for Sun Microsystems in the late 1980s, and is the author of Technobabble, the definitive guide to the use (and misuse) of language in the IT industry.

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Most Recent Comments
Bill H. 01/19/06 12:05:40 PM EST

Ellison was funnier than Scott??? By what measure?
I seemed to me Ellison had a tough time trying to think of something witty to say, whereas Scott was always finding funny lines. He got more laughs too.

Technology Tuesday 01/12/06 09:13:08 AM EST

How often do 3 of the Valley's biggest superstars make public apperarances on the same day: Steve Jobs of Apple, Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems and Larry Ellison of Oracle...incredible.

InOtherNews 01/12/06 09:09:10 AM EST

'Sun CEO Scott McNealy started Tuesday's "town meeting" session for media and employees at Oracle headquarters by dispelling rumors that the two companies might be poised to announce a merger. But when he turned to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison for confirmation, he only heard hems and haws.' That was eWeek's take.

Oracle-Sun vs Apple 01/12/06 08:41:06 AM EST

Whats it all mean? The answer surely is simple: it means that Steve Jobs was getting all the attention because of Apple's sales reaching $5.7 billion last quarter, outstripping the company's $4.7 billion prediction as demand soared for iPod music players and Macintosh computers.

This was the Sun-Oracle answer. But the Apple numbers deservedly got 100x more attention.

NZheretic 01/12/06 08:21:00 AM EST

It makes a lot of sense for Sun to open source the Java Libraries and Solaris Kernel.

fm6 01/12/06 08:19:11 AM EST

I find it hard to believe that Sun can create software that's so good, people will buy Sun hardware just to run it. And if it's open source, they probably won't need Sun hardware to run it

No Surprise 01/12/06 08:16:32 AM EST

||| Oracle's Larry Ellison came off as the funnier and more amped up of the two |||

McNealy's too clever by half, and humor has to be scripted for him. Larry's funny on the fly.

Sun-Oracle 01/12/06 08:04:30 AM EST

So Larry's not gonna buy out Scottie? oh well...Bill's heart must have stopped there just for a moment. It seems he'll continue to be King Pin however for a goodly while yet.

QuoteUnquote 01/12/06 07:50:41 AM EST

McNealy (commenting on Oracle's plush auditorium): "We don't have a room like this. The hardware business has lower margins, I think. ... So, Larry, are you buying Sun?"
Ellison: "Well, you know, Scott ..."
McNealy: "A simple 'yes' or 'no' will do."
Ellison: "You'll see it in the newspapers. Oracle's strong preference is to do everything hostilely."

JDJ News Desk 01/11/06 01:26:44 AM EST

Because the presentation was pitched primarily at employees of Sun and Oracle, the two chiefs, known for their aggressive stances, were in a jovial, frequently joking mood. Oracle's Larry Ellison came off as the funnier and more amped up of the two. Sun's Scott McNealy seemed uncharacteristically subdued, perhaps because he wasn't on his own turf. He even joked that Sun lacks a capacious venue like Oracle's conference center, which was why he was in Redwood Shores.

JDJ News Desk 01/11/06 01:04:49 AM EST

Because the presentation was pitched primarily at employees of Sun and Oracle, the two chiefs, known for their aggressive stances, were in a jovial, frequently joking mood. Oracle's Larry Ellison came off as the funnier and more amped up of the two. Sun's Scott McNealy seemed uncharacteristically subdued, perhaps because he wasn't on his own turf. He even joked that Sun lacks a capacious venue like Oracle's conference center, which was why he was in Redwood Shores.

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