Today's (April 20th, 2009) announcement by Sun Microsystems and Oracle that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Oracle will acquire Sun common stock for $9.50 per share in cash sees the final bowing out of one of the giants of the computing industry. As an ex-Sun man, it is both a sad day as well as one of future expectations. I was asked not so long ago when there was the talk about the possible acquisition of Sun by IBM, what would Sun be remembered for. I said then that there were 2 things:
The Solaris chip which enabled the transformation of the computing world into one in which distributed computing was both possible and practical; and
- Java, in my mind the first big open source project in the world. Sun's ability to co-ordinate the like of Oracle, IBM, BEA, HP and many others is quite an understated achievement.
On the other hand, one has to look at the under-achievements of Sun in terms of their inability to really get the hang of software and how to make money from it.
For Oracle, this means that their oldest partner's acquisition will complete the full service capability from hardware, through infrastructure software to application software to services. It makes them one better than IBM's total offering as they have no application software.
It will be interesting to see what is said about Java in the next few months, as I can imagine that some of the big players such as IBM and SAP will want some reassurance as the way in which the "Java project" continues.
So the BIG X is one less. Long live the Big X-1!