Oracle will keep Sun's server line, says Ellison

Oracle is to stay in the hardware business following its planned acquisition of Sun and has no plans to hive off Sun's server assets according to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

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Oracle is to stay in the hardware business following its planned acquisition of Sun and has no plans to hive off Sun's server assets according to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

"We are definitely not going to exit the hardware business," Ellison said, according to a transcript of an interview filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Oracle was primarily interested in Sun's Solaris OS and its Java software, which Oracle relies on for many of its applications. But Sun also has a significant hardware business, which includes servers and its family of Sparc microprocessors, and Ellison plans to keep them around as a key component of Oracle's business.

"While most hardware businesses are low-margin, companies like Apple and Cisco enjoy very high-margins because they do a good job of designing their hardware and software to work together," Ellison said. "If a company designs both hardware and software, it can build much better systems than if they only design the software. That's why Apple's iPhone is so much better than Microsoft phones."

Ellison's comments confirm Oracle's intention to maintain and grow Sun's hardware business, which were outlined in general terms in a 20 April document that discussed Oracle's plans for Sun.

"After the closing, Oracle plans to be the only company that can engineer an integrated system where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves," Oracle said at that time.

Even so, many suspected Oracle intended to sell or close parts of Sun's hardware business.

"Larry Ellison, with one short interview, has turned the server side of the industry on its head. Many industry observers and players believed that Oracle would either sell or wind down Sun's hardware business," said Dan Olds, principal analyst with Gabriel Consulting Group.

"This should prompt concern and late nights at Dell, Hewlett Packard, and IBM headquarters. Oracle is a factor in a large percentage of enterprise server deals, and if Oracle has a compelling integrated hardware and software solution, it will be more difficult for the other vendors to compete with," Olds said.

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