Sun: Oracle Didn't Want the Hardware Half

The Financial Times today reports that when Oracle planned to buy Sun it was more interested in the software part of the company. Remember back in April, when the deal was announced, Oracle made a huge deal about Java? Well, apparently, that’s because initially that was all the company wanted.

According to FT (which cites an SEC filing from Sun), Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO and co-founder, made a bid for what Sun describes as “certain of our software assets,” along with taking a minority equity stake. That idea was rejected and in April Ellison bought the whole company. One of his justifications was that he really wanted Java and Solaris along some of Sun’s other software; the other was that the owning the company’s hardware division would leave Oracle “better placed to deal with the way enterprise customers will want to buy their technology in future.”

That brings us quite nicely around to the rumors that Oracle could spin off the hardware parts of Sun, with one of the most likely buyers being HP. FT debunks rumors that HP was ever considering acquiring the company, as speculation suggested around the time that IBM was dancing its dance.  According to one source (who apparently had “a ringside seat to the action”), HP was actively engaged for months, spent quite a time doing due diligence and then backed out before putting a deal on the table.

Oracle has said it will not be shedding Sun’s hardware divisions however, a buy from HP doesn’t look completely impossible. The fact that HP spent a lot of time weighing up its options and due diligence means the company likely wanted the hardware but couldn’t quite make sense of buying the entire company, software and all. Do you think Oracle will spin off what is now its own hardware division or do you think Larry Ellison will stand by what his plan to keep the company in one piece? Let us know!

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  • Tindytim
    Some of this worries me.

    I mean, quite a bit of their software is open source, what they've already put out can't be taken back, but I can't help but be a little worried Sun will get bought out and will be a little less Open.
  • TwoDigital
    Oracle's own "OS" is just a custom version of RHEL on Intel. I'm not sure what they're planning on doing with the Sparc architecture, but I'd be nervous if I was in the Solaris for Sparc "Closed Source" development team right about now. Solaris "11i" is more likely going to be Intel/AMD-centric... and spinning off the hardware division without Sparc Solaris going with it would not help the situation too much.
  • TwoDigital
    ...being a Linux person, however, I'm more worried about MySQL than I am about Sparc.