When today I heard the news of Oracle buying Sun Microsystems, my first thought was that I wished I had picked up some JAVA shares after the IBM deal had fallen through. It was just a matter of time before a suitor would snap it up.
My second thought was about its impact on the tech sector and the end users. For one, this puts Oracle in the hardware business with new competitors like IBM, HP, and Dell. It's possible though that Oracle would sell off or just kill that part of the business.
The more interesting situation is the future of Java, MySQL, and OpenOffice. My predictions are: Java will continue in its current form, free for users with a fee-based maintenance arm. MySQL will be absorbed into the big Oracle DB mother ship and will continue to be free of charge under a moniker like Oracle-Light or something similar. Again, there will be a fee-based maintenance plan for that. As for OpenOffice, Oracle will have its challenges with Microsoft and Google. It's probably steady-as-she-goes with regards to OpenOffice, at least for some time.
Oracle seems to have the right combination of fortune and skills to successfully absorb acquired companies into its collective. If the past is any indication, the Sun Micro acquisition will be yet another smooth sailing (pun intended). Of course the downside of this will the layoffs that follow such an event.
It’s a bit sad to bid farewell to Sun as an independent firm. This company has had such a huge impact on the tech sector in terms of innovation and the proliferation of the Internet. But considering the alternative (possible bankruptcy or a state of irrelevance), Oracle may be just the right company to keep Sun's legacy of innovation alive and even push it further.