Oracle's announcement of its intended US$7.4 billion acquisition of Sun has certainly shaken up the hardware and server operating system (OS) business markets.
During the next several months, important questions will have to be sorted out by Oracle, such as can the Silicon Valley behemoth succeed in a subsuming Sun's wares and employees into its own world, and will Oracle be able to achieve the lofty earnings predictions made by CEO Larry Ellison?
But another critical question is this: What will be the effect of this transaction on Oracle's other main product area: business software applications, such as its ERP, CRM, supply chain and BI lines?
And, of course, how will this affect Oracle's number-one competitor in the space: SAP?
It's all speculative at this point in the process, of course, but the collateral damage to SAP could be significant.
"This deal is very, very complementary for Oracle," Laura DiDio, principal analyst at researcher Information Technology Intelligence, told Infoworld.com. "It gives them instant credibility with hardware, virtualisation, open source, storage and cloud computing."
Oracle's Ellison was naturally bullish on the deal. "The acquisition of Sun transforms the IT industry, combining best-in-class enterprise software and mission-critical computing systems," said Ellison, in announcing the deal.
"Oracle will be the only company that can engineer an integrated system - applications to disk - where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves. Our customers benefit as their systems integration costs go down while system performance, reliability and security go up."
Even if Ellison's rosy estimates and expected synergies are half correct, the long-term implications for SAP could be harsh.