Oracle Ads Challenge IBM And Promise Sun SPARC Support

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While IBM and HP say SPARC/Solaris is doomed, Oracle promises to spend more on the platform than Sun currently does

Amid fears that Oracle would dump Sun’s hardware, on completeion of its $7.4 billion bid to buy the company, the software company has promised increased funding for SPARC/Solaris development – and issued a challenge to IBM.

Since first announcing plans to buy Sun Microsystems, Oracle has been dogged by questions surrounding its plans for Sun’s hardware business.

Though Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has said that he planned to keep that part of Sun’s business, concerns remained. Rivals such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM have aggressively played up those concerns as they’ve tried to entice Sun customers over to their hardware platforms.

Now, in full page newspaper adverts (reproduced on Oracle’s site) Oracle officials say that, once the deal is closed, they will spend more money than Sun on SPARC/Solaris hardware.

The ads promise Oracle will have more people selling and servicing Sun’s SPARC/Solaris systems than Sun does now, and that they plan to spend more money developing both the SPARC platform and Solaris OS than Sun does.

The ad also says that the tighter integration with Oracle’s software will improve the performance of Sun’s hardware.

A quote in the ad from Ellison also chides IBM, with Ellison saying: “We’re in it to win it. IBM, we’re looking forward to competing with you in the hardware business.”

Both IBM and HP have put programs in place to entice Sun users concerned about Oracle’s planned takeover over to their platforms. For example, on the same day in July that Sun shareholders approved the Oracle deal, HP rolled out its Sun Complete Care program, a package of services, support plans and financial incentives aimed at enticing Sun customers to migrate to their x86-based ProLiant or Itanium-based Integrity systems.

According to HP, more than 100 Sun customers have made to the move to HP since the program kicked off.

Oracle has its reasons for wanting to keep Sun customers, particularly given the large overlap of Sun hardware users who run Oracle software on the systems.

Sun, which has been struggling financially since the dot-com bust earlier this decade, has been hit hard since news of the Oracle buy became public in April, after months of Sun reportedly being courted by IBM.

Sun officials in July reported that the company lost $147 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, and both Gartner and IDC reported in August that Sun was the biggest loser of the top server OEMs in the second quarter. IDC said that in a difficult quarter for all server makers, Sun’s revenue declined 37.2 percent over the same period last year, while Gartner said shipments dropped by 34.3 percent.

Although the US Department of Justic has approved the deal, Oracle’s wait to close the deal on Sun also was recently extended, when the European Commission delayed it for a more in-depth investigation of the proposed acquisition. The decision was fueled in large part by concerns over the database market, and in particular the future of the open source MySQL database (rival Ingres has been rubbing its hands).

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