#OracleSun

January 29, 2010
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I spent most of yesterday at the Oracle Conference Center listening to Oracle and Sun Exec’s talk about the go-forward plans for the new company post-close of the acquisition the day before. As you might imagine the plans are fairly detailed, especially given the amount of time they had to develop them as they waited for the glacially slow decision from the EU to bless the deal. I won’t go through every detail that we learned on the product plans, you can do that in greater detail yourself next week when they post the Sun-Oracle product plans on Oracle.com. What I will do is give you a quick overview of the basic strategy…

I spent most of yesterday at the Oracle Conference Center listening to Oracle and Sun Exec’s talk about the go-forward plans for the new company post-close of the acquisition the day before. As you might imagine the plans are fairly detailed, especially given the amount of time they had to develop them as they waited for the glacially slow decision from the EU to bless the deal. I won’t go through every detail that we learned on the product plans, you can do that in greater detail yourself next week when they post the Sun-Oracle product plans on Oracle.com. What I will do is give you a quick overview of the basic strategy and share some observations. I will say that if you follow Oracle as closely as I do the general strategy should be no surprise, as it looks very similar to the process and approach that they have used on all of their major acquisitions. Also the announcements made yesterday are completely consistent to what was said by all of the Oracle exec’s at the announcement of the deal, in subsequent conversations that I had with Oracle Co-President Charles Phillips and Oracle CTO Ed Scraven, and in all of the public statements that CEO Larry Ellison has made since.

Here are a few observations:

  • All of the Sun product lines will continue under the new company and the hardware will be branded Sun – Oracle.
  • The new company will focus on two strategies, produce best of breed products individually that they will also offer in complete integrated stacks or “pre-integrated solutions” containing hardware, database, OS, middleware and applications (something I’d maybe call an appliance, although they seem to object to the term).
  • The open source products will all be continued, managed under separate business units (as agreed with the EU) and will include continued investment (yes, including mySQL, which I think is a great competitive move against Microsoft SQLServer).
  • Oracle plans to get Sun to profitability in the first quarter of the merged company. There are several initiatives that will aid this, the reduction of redundant process and personnel, major supply chain renovations and simplifications, reduction of total number of SKU’s and general improvements in operational efficiencies.
  • Oracle plans to take the top 4,000 global Sun accounts direct and will approach the hardware business by adding an overlay hardware sales team, much like they have done with other speciality product lines. The channel and the rest of the channel accounts will be integrated into the Oracle Partner Network framework according to the regular Oracle acquisition check-list.
  • Oracle will hire 2,000 new engineers and sales personnel, roughly twice the number of Sun employees that will be laid off.
  • Oracle will raise its R&D investment to $4.3B, an increase of $1.5B over 2009.

The other interesting thread that was clearly present throughout every executive presentation is Oracle’s commitment to high quality support. Jergen Rottler, EVP of Oracle Customer Services also presented and reassured Sun customers that Oracle would integrate and rapidly increase the level of customer service (BTW, historically in other acquisitions this is the case. They have developed a very sophisticated process of integrating acquired company support organizations, which I guess is no surprise after 60 acquisitions in 5 years).   

Overall it was a very up beat and positive day. The new company and strategy is promising but as always the true test is in the ongoing execution of the strategy, something Oracle has proven to have as a core competency.