May 04, 2009
Oracle Buys Sun
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| by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Oracle will acquire Sun common stock for $9.50 per share in cash. The transaction is valued at approximately $7.4 billion, or $5.6 billion net of Sun's cash and debt. "We expect this acquisition to be accretive to Oracle's earnings by at least 15 cents on a non-GAAP basis in the first full year after closing. We estimate that the acquired business will contribute over $1.5 billion to Oracle's non-GAAP operating profit in the first year, increasing to over $2 billion in the second year. This would make the Sun acquisition more profitable in per share contribution in the first year than
we had planned for the acquisitions of BEA, PeopleSoft and Siebel combined," said Oracle President Safra Catz.
"The acquisition of Sun transforms the IT industry, combining best-in-class enterprise software and mission-critical computing systems," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. "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."
There are substantial long-term strategic customer advantages to Oracle owning two key Sun software assets: Java and Solaris. Java is one of the computer industry's best-known brands and most widely deployed technologies, and it is the most important software Oracle has ever acquired. Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle's fastest growing business, is built on top of Sun's Java language and software. Oracle can now ensure continued innovation and investment in Java technology for the benefit of customers and the Java community.
The Sun Solaris operating system is the leading platform for the Oracle database, Oracle's largest business, and has been for a long time. With the acquisition of Sun, Oracle can optimize the Oracle database for some of the unique, high-end features of Solaris. Oracle is as committed as ever to Linux and other open platforms and will continue to support and enhance our strong industry partnerships.
"Oracle and Sun have been industry pioneers and close partners for more than 20 years," said Sun Chairman Scott McNealy. "This combination is a natural evolution of our relationship and will be an industry-defining event."
"This is a fantastic day for Sun's customers, developers, partners and employees across the globe, joining forces with the global leader in enterprise software to drive innovation and value across every aspect of the technology marketplace," said Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's CEO, "From the Java platform touching nearly every business system on earth, powering billions of consumers on mobile handsets and consumer electronics, to the convergence of storage, networking and computing driven by the Solaris operating system and Sun's SPARC and x64 systems. Together with Oracle, we'll drive the innovation pipeline to create compelling value to our customer base and the marketplace."
"Sun is a pioneer in enterprise computing, and this combination recognizes the innovation and customer success the company has achieved. Our largest customers have been asking us to step up to a broader role to reduce complexity, risk and cost by delivering a highly optimized stack based on standards," said Oracle President Charles Phillips. "This transaction will preserve and enhance investments made by our customers, while we continue to work with our partners to provide customers with choice."
The Board of Directors of Sun Microsystems has unanimously approved the transaction. It is anticipated to close this summer, subject to Sun stockholder approval, certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
After weeks of speculation of IBM buying Sun, which failed to come to fruition, Oracle decisively came in and bought the company. Although well calculated, it seemed like a sudden move, and one that Sun and Oracle amazingly both kept quiet. Is Oracle a better suitor of Sun than IBM? I would have to say “yes” for several different reasons that I’ll briefly discuss.
For the survival of the investments that a lot of companies made in Sun technologies over the years, Oracle buying Sun is preferable over IBM for the following reasons:
• Sun's Java virtually duplicates IBM's Java.
• Sun's Solaris operating system largely duplicates IBM's AIX.
• Since there are really no good alternatives to Java, Oracle very likely will stay the course with Sun’s implementation of Java.
This deal will likely be the most significant one made in the software industry for 2009 and could have some possible future implications for the CAD and PLM markets. The Board of Directors of Sun Microsystems all approved the transaction that is due to close this summer subject to Sun stockholder approval, certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Jonathan Schwarz, Sun’s CEO, certainly seems happy with the deal.
Oracle has the resources to take Java to the next level, but does it have the desire to make Java's emphasis more focused on enterprise computing as a result of this acquisition? Historically, Oracle definitely knows how to make money from middleware – something that Sun has always struggled with.
Another question that comes to mind is, does Oracle really want to get into the hardware business that was such a big drag on Sun? The press release hardly mentions hardware except for Ellison's quote about Oracle now having an “end-to-end platform.” It does, however, state the importance of Java and Solaris as being at the core of Oracle technology. If Oracle quickly turned around and sold the hardware business to, say, Fujitsu or another server hardware manufacturer, then it would effectively have bought Java, MySQL, and Solaris virtually for free.
There has been a strong partnership between Sun and Oracle over many years, and Oracle running under Solaris is a solid pairing. However with the acquisition, what comparable products will Oracle retire? Then there the inevitable naming question -- will Sun still called Sun or will it be known as Oracle Sun?
For the most part, Oracle has been supportive to products it has acquired, often replacing its own products with the new ones. Also, Oracle has already heavily invested in Java technology – a lot more than IBM.
Since Ellison has always been big on dueling it out with other companies, such as Microsoft, Sun’s free office suite, OpenOffice may get a big boost. Java support on the client side may increase, as well. This acquisition raises questions about the future. Could Adobe or a major CAD vendor be Oracle's next acquisition target?
The only thing missing in Oracle now is client side GUI and graphics stuff. I predict more future acquisitions (Adobe?) to be made in the graphics area. Stranger things have happened. Imagine, for example, a cross-platform JavaFX-based digital tool for mechanical design.
From the Java perspective, the acquisition provides several things, including:
• Protects and extends customers’ investment in Sun technologies
• Accelerates growth of Java as an open industry standard development platform
• Sustains Solaris as an industry standard enterprise operating system for Oracle software
• Continues Sun’s open storage and systems initiatives
If there is an unsettling aspect to the acquisition, it might be that since Oracle is at the top of heap as far as database software and services go, where will MySQL end up?
As for Oracle’s foray into the CAD arena, let’s take a short step back in time . . .
About two years ago, Oracle announced its acquisition of Agile, a company known mostly for its PLM products, for $495 million. This move was not so much an entry point into PLM as it was into the CAD visualization market. Agile purchased Cimmetry, a CAD visualization company, in February 2005 for $45M cash. And now (through Agile) Oracle owns the AutoVue product line.
For the past couple of years, the CAD visualization market has gone through a several changes. For example, with Adobe entering this arena relatively recently with Acrobat 3D, and Oracle with Cimmetry, again, could Adobe be in Oracle’s acquisition sights, or possibly even a top-tier CAD company?
This deal makes a lot of sense, and it will be also interesting to see whether Java will be used to go up against ERP giant, SAP, and IBM.
I’m sure many would prefer an independent Sun, but since this was no longer possible, the Oracle deal is probably the best thing that could happen for Sun and ensuring that its technologies remain viable and sustainable. Oracle, as the buyer, looks (at least outwardly) better than IBM. I would conclude that from the software perspective, this is a good deal. It’s the hardware side that will remain a mystery, but I’m sure Oracle will sort that out in due time. And while Oracle is currently not a huge presence in the MCAD market, I think that will change over time, and that time may not be too far in the future.
In the previous issue of MCADCafe Weekly, we discussed the software and training programs offered by SolidWorks and Autodesk for displaced technical workers. These two companies are not alone with their generous offers, and they were not the first. In the technical software arena, I believe Altair Engineering was the first, offering free software and training last year or maybe even in 2007.
In any event, we received the following email from CD-adapco reminding us of our unintentional omission:
“Nice that you have written about the assistance to displaced workers by MCAD vendors, but actually, if you check the dates of the corresponding press releases from CD-adapco (Feb. 26), Autodesk (April 6), and Solidworks (April 6), you'll see that we invented the idea and the others (in the "patent" sense, at least) copied it from us. We had actual unemployed/laid-off engineers taking advantage of our program before they even announced theirs. I hope you are able to give us some credit for this in a future MCADCafe Weekly.”
Thanks and best regards,
Dr. Dennis A. Nagy
Vice President, Business Development
Director, Energy Industries
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
3Dconnexion announced the new SpacePilot PRO. The company’s flagship 3D mouse is designed for advanced control of 3D models, easier access to the power of professional 3D applications, fewer interruptions in the design workflow, and superior comfort. The SpacePilot PRO’s features include:
• LCD Workflow Assistant -- The color LCD lists function-key assignments and provides at-a-glance access to Microsoft Outlook e-mail, calendar and task lists, allowing professionals to access important information for a fully integrated design experience with fewer distractions.
• Advanced MCAD Navigation -- Five new dual-function QuickView Navigation keys improve error detection, design review, and design presentation by providing one-touch access to the following views: top and bottom, right and left, front and back, two isometric views, and 90-degree view rotation of any view either clockwise or counter-clockwise – for a total of 32 views.
• Intelligent Function Keys -- Five new fully customizable, dual-function keys offer immediate, one-touch access to 10 frequently used commands within any supported 3D application. The SpacePilot PRO automatically detects the active application and assigns appropriate function keys – whether default or customized. The color LCD denotes the function key assignments and application mode so engineers can easily identify commands and design states.
• Superior Comfort -- The SpacePilot PRO has a new sculpted, soft-coated wrist rest that positions the hand in relation to the controller cap to support a balanced workflow. The micro-precision six-degrees-of-freedom sensor allows for fingertip control with minimal effort from the arm, wrist and hand, while frequently used commands are conveniently positioned at your fingertips. The symmetrical layout of the function keys makes the device usable with either hand.
The team of 21st century builders, engineers and historians tasked with recreating Leonardo daVinci's inventions for the new Discovery Channel series DOING DAVINCI are using Autodesk Inventor to virtually test the renowned inventor's designs. Inventor software is the foundation of the Autodesk Digital Prototyping solution. To view video footage featuring Inventor software in action on the show, visit
. The program team consists of four experts that work each week to create the never-before constructed inventions.
The team also works closely with Dr. Jonathan Pevsner, a published expert on Leonardo daVinci. He advises the team throughout the build process, providing them with insight into history and daVinci's intent. On the April 13 premiere episode, the team takes a shot at constructing one of daVinci's most futuristic designs--the armored tank, a design that could rival even modern-day inventions. Additional designs featured in the series include a machine gun, a self-propelled cart and a catapult. For more information about the program, visit
FIRST Robotics Championship Event April 16-18, 2009, in Atlanta, Ga. In August 2009, Raytheon will also award 40 FIRST Robotics team members who plan to pursue a college degree in math, science, engineering or technology with a $1,000 scholarship. The FIRST Robotics Championship is an international event in which teams of high school students build a robot during a six-week period using the core principles of engineering and mathematics. The final teams -- 8,600 students from 11 countries -- have been selected from more than 42,000 contestants who
Seven Raytheon Company-sponsored teams totaling nearly 150 high school students competed in the
already competed at regional levels around the world. In preparation for the championship, almost 70 Raytheon employees have dedicated approximately 14,000 hours to mentor students from more than 40 high schools across the country during the last year. The Raytheon volunteers have met with their teams each week and have guided them in the development of their robots, each consisting of a standard kit of 604 components and other purchased parts based on a common set of rules provided by FIRST. Raytheon's support of FIRST is a component of its
program, an initiative designed to engage middle school students in math and science and help create the next generation of innovators for the U.S. Since the program was launched in 2005, MathMovesU has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships and has touched the lives of more than 700,000 students, teachers and parents nationwide. To learn more about the program, visit
For the first time, Autodesk making AutoCAD software available for free to members of its global Student Engineering and Design Community, an online resource that offers numerous benefits to students and educators, including free design software, self-paced training, innovative curricula, global social networking, job listings, and more. AutoCAD 2010, includes new capabilities introducing free-form design tools, parametric drawing, and enhanced PDF and 3D printing capabilities. The addition of AutoCAD 2010 to the Student Community allows students to take full advantage of these new design tools, while adding to the portfolio of products they can use to develop skills in key industry
concepts such as Digital Prototyping, building information modeling (BIM), and sustainable design. With the addition of AutoCAD 2010, the Student Community now offers more than two dozen free software products. Since its launch in 2006, the Community has expanded to more than 570,000 members representing more than 19,000 schools in 139 countries.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, today announced that a new Java Technology port will be a part of the robotics platform for the 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) season. The addition of Java to LabView and C++ as programming language options in the FRC tool kit, also known as the Kit of Parts, was announced during the 2009 FIRST Championship at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. In the 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition, contestants will be able to use Java Technology to program the CompactRIO controller manufactured by
National Instruments. The port of Java to the CompactRIO controller is the culmination of several years of work by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and researchers from the Sun SPOT project at Sun Microsystems Laboratories. During the 2009 season, 1,680 FRC teams totaling 42,000 students competed at 41 events in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. All participants are eligible to apply for close to $10 million in scholarships at over 130 colleges and universities.
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.