Monday, April 20, 2009

Oracle to Acquire Sun Microsystems

Back in the mid-80s, do you remember sign-up sheets for workstations, which were extremely expensive and in short supply. Design software such as MDS (HP), Libra (EEsof) and Harmonica (Compact Software) required the high performance computing only available on these machines and EM simulation software such as HFSS was not yet widely available. Many of us (junior) engineers had to work later in the evening waiting for a workstation to became available. Do you remember the Unix wars between the proponents of BSD from Univerity of California, Berkeley and System V from AT&T? BSD Unix vendor Sun Microsytems and AT&T would start working together on a unified system in 1987. Eventually a workstation for every design engineer would become a reality. Workstations and PCs have certainly come a long way since then, and today's simulators often utilize compute farms to address ever-larger problems, broad parameteric sweeps and optimization, yet hearing that Oracle Corp. plans to acquire Sun Microsystems Inc. for $7.4billion, brought back memories of those days many years ago.

In the deal, Oracle trumped IBM by picking up what might prove to be a software treasure trove that includes the popular MySQL open-source database as well as Java.
Oracle said it will pay $9.50 per share in cash for Sun, or $5.6 billion net of Sun's cash and debt. The move follows Oracle's purchases of a raft of companies in the past few years, including Siebel Systems, PeopleSoft and BEA Systems.

Sun shares rose by $2.41 to $9.10 in trading about an hour after the market opened, while Oracle shares declined by $1.03 to $18.03. Shares of the buying company in big mergers and acquisitions often sink at first as investors debate the relative merits of laying out large amounts of cash for the acquisition.

On a conference call Monday, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said Java and Solaris were the two main reasons Oracle purchased Sun, a move that is in line with Oracle's acquisition strategy to buy companies with "market-leading products."

Calling Java "the single most important software asset we have ever acquired," he said Oracle's Java-based middleware business, bolstered first by the BEA acquisition and now by the purchase of Sun, is on track to become as large as Oracle's flagship database business. Oracle's Fusion middleware is based on Java.

Oracle also considers Solaris "by far the best Unix technology available in the market," which is why more Oracle databases run on that OS than any other, Ellison said. He said Oracle's enterprise customers running both products will be able to experience new benefits by technical integration of the products.

Anyone else care to share some old Sun Solaris SPARC memories?

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