Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy, the respective CEOs of Oracle and Sun Microsystems, will squeeze their egos into the same room at Oracle headquarters Tuesday to detail partnership plans, according a Thursday news advisory.
The two executives have had a close business relationship for years; Oracle's database and other server software products are popular on Sun's servers. But there has been some friction of late as Oracle touted Linux and Dell servers and McNealy bashed Oracle's pricing.
Tuesday's meeting, billed as a "Sun/Oracle employee town hall," will address a number of issues, according to the press advisory. Among them: "Why the time is right to kick off the next phase of the Sun/Oracle alliance, how both companies intend to extend the importance of Java for the future, how Oracle's new pricing model for multi-core systems benefits customers, (and) how Sun and Oracle will go to market together to expand adoption for Sun and Oracle technologies."
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.
One probability is some patching-up of a relationship has shown some signs of fraying in recent years.
McNealy has aimed gentle barbs at Ellison--making fun of his aggressive acquisition strategy and expensive suits, for example. But he also has made a more serious charge, complaining about how Oracle based its software prices on the number of cores a processor has. Sun, which has the most aggressive multi-core processor strategy in the server market, would have been at a major pricing disadvantage by such a move, but Oracle in December announced more liberal pricing.
Meanwhile, in 2003, Oracle said Linux would become its primary software development platform. But in November 2005, the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company updated its position, saying Solaris is the "preferred development and deployment platform" for 64-bit x86 processors.