The Enterprise Landgrab Continues: Oracle Buys BEA For $8.5B, Sun Buys MySql for $1B

from the buying-in-the-air dept

Something must be in the air today, as two big acquisitions were announced this morning. First, Oracle announced that it will fork over $8.5 billion for middleware maker, BEA. BEA has been on the radar since last October, when BEA rejected Oracle's unsolicited $6.7 billion offer. Carl Icahn, BEA's largest shareholder, had initially agreed with BEA's counter offer of $21 per share, but then later started pushing publicly for the sale. Oracle held fast to its offer of $17 per share, so it's surprising to see that they were able to agree on $19.375 per share, especially when there were seemingly no other bidders. These acquisitions continue an overall trend of consolidation in the enterprise software market, kicked off by Oracle's 2004 acquisition of PeopleSoft. Since then, Oracle has spent about $110 billion in its acquisition of about 30 companies. Oracle is in a battle with German software giant, SAP, who is also knee deep in the land grab with its recently successful $6.7 billion acquisition for Business Objects. Meanwhile, Sun will spend $1 billion for open source database maker, MySql, making a strong play in the $15 billion enterprise database market. This deal makes sense for Sun, who has been building up its stable of open source products. That said, when will the speculation begin for an Oracle-Sun merger? Both hate Microsoft deeply, and both have been trying to expand beyond their core markets. And, MySql even rejected Oracle's acquisition offer back in 2006. At some point, someone's going to think it makes sense for the two to combine.


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    Joel Coehoorn, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 10:10am

    It's already started.

    "That said, when will the speculation begin for an Oracle-Sun merger?"

    It's already started. I hypothesized on this near the of my blog post on the merger:
    http://jcoehoorn.vox.com/library/post/sun-buys-mysql.html

    I think it would be a shame if it happened, since Oracle would almost certainly just kill off the MySQL database (as far as that's possible for a product who's source code if freely available) in favor of their own.

     

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      Jon, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 1:03pm

      Re: It's already started.

      As I pointed out on another site, you can't just kill MySQL. If its copyright holder decided to just off it, you'd see someone else take the GPL'd code and fork it.

      It's in everyone's best interested for MySQL to stay as open as it is with the support of a corporation.

      Maybe it's just the business I'm in, but I never hear anyone remotely mention Oracle databases anymore. If we're not talking about MSSQL, then we're talking about an open source DB - MySQL or PostgreSQL.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 1:38pm

        Re: Re: It's already started.

        Probably just your industry. At my company, if it's not DB2, it's Oracle. (And we're using less and less DB2 each year).

         

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    Haywood, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 10:27am

    I don't care so long as they keep it going

    My mind goes back to Norton / Symantec buying Partition Magic and just letting it die. They came out with one new version, and that was just to brand it. Now we have no versions for W2k3 server or Vista, and it will soon drop into obscurity.

     

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    Hellsvilla, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 10:33am

    Symantec!

    Symantec: Where good products go to die.

     

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    Perl-Monk_Zero, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 2:34pm

    OSS Gearing Up

    Jon makes a good point: "As I pointed out on another site, you can't just kill MySQL. If its copyright holder decided to just off it, you'd see someone else take the GPL'd code and fork it."

    This seems to be an extremely plausible scenario. I hope that should such a merger occur that is what will happen. But let's take a step back a moment from the speculative negativity and take a look at the implications of what HAS happened.

    MySQL, a staple of the OSS community, has joined into Sun Microsystems, a relatively major player in the marketplace. This can, theoretically, help shore up the MySQL project ensuring it's continued existence and funding while under Sun's control. It also pushes up Sun's investment in the OSS Community. With major players like Sun and Google stepping up the OpenSource Assault, I think the future is starting to look rather bright.

    Furthermore, with MySQL now owned by Sun, what changes might we expect to see in Java and it's own database interface. Java has typically worked very well with Oracle in the past, but now that Sun has a solid database system of it's own, could that change a bit? If Sun were to change some things in Java to make it more heavily favor MySQL(and why shouldn't they?) couldn't this, in fact, polarise Oracle and Sun a bit, making this theoretical merger less likely? Or perhaps the opposite effect, it will make Oracle more desperate to do soemthing about Sun.

    Whichever way the situation unfolds I think it presents a valuable lesson. It demonstrates that fierce competition can still be engendered in an OpenSource Environment, despite what naysayers think. The model is being proven.

    That's just how I see things anyways.

     

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    Daniel Nelson, Jan 17th, 2008 @ 9:14am

    Chaos for customers

    As much as this makes sense for Oracle and BEA as companies, this is turbulent news for the administrators and developers of WebLogic. It seemed clear on the call that the main platform Oracle is going to be pushing is Fusion. Where does that leave the thousands of WL customers?

    Many companies are going to be faced with migration decisions or decisions on how to effectively support a mixed environment of web application servers. There needs to be a way to easily migrate applications from one web application server to others (even if different flavors – WebSphere, BEA, Oracle, JBoss…).

    My company is taking one approach to help customers with this turbulence. If you want to read more, here's a link to our press release on the matter.

    http://www.phurnace.com/press/perfectly-timed-with-today-s-bea-acquisition-phurnace-plans -support-for-oracle-oas-to-bea-we.html

     

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