Oracle has much to say to Sun Microsystems customers in a front-page advertisement it placed in Thursday's European edition of The Wall Street Journal.
The advertisement commits to greater investments in Sun hardware and Solaris software, but has absolutely nothing to say about MySQL. Is this a necessary omission to appease European regulators, or is it a sign of Oracle's intentions?
In the advertisement, Oracle commits to the following:
IBM, which has been cleaning up at Sun's expense, gets a warning from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison: "We're in it to win it. IBM, we're looking forward to competing with you in the hardware business."
Sun's business has tanked in the ongoing uncertainty over Oracle's takeover bid. The advertisement is clearly intended to placate customers that might otherwise flee to the apparent security of a relationship with IBM or Hewlett-Packard.
It's interesting, therefore, that Oracle gives no assurances about MySQL. This could simply be a politic action designed to sidestep the ire of the European Union, which has been investigating the effects an Oracle acquisition might have on Sun's MySQL business.
Or it could simply be a recognition that assuaging the fears of MySQL's customers is a comparatively unimportant task. MySQL was doing roughly $100 million in sales at the time Sun acquired the company. Given that Sun stands to lose billions in its hardware business the longer the Oracle bid drags on, losing a few tens of millions from MySQL is pocket change.
Besides, it's not at all clear that Oracle's decision to snag Sun has done anything to slow MySQL adoption. A vocal minority within the open-source development community has wrung its hands over the deal, but I've yet to hear MySQL's customer base, which skews toward the technology-savvy Web crowd, fretting about Oracle's impact on MySQL's business.
Oracle's advertisement is designed to shore up confidence in the CIO crowd that still buys Sun and probably has no clue that their organizations are running MySQL throughout the enterprise. At some point they'll know. But by that time, Oracle's acquisition of Sun should be complete.
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