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Oracle buys Sun. Good idea for everything except databases

According to Merrill R. (Rick) Chapman's book, there is an oft repeated pattern in the computer industry where a company suddenly finds itself with two products in the same market space, and ends up not being able to sell either. They spend all their time trying to explain to customers why they should buy one or the other, when really the truth is that they are too similar to differentiate. Meanwhile a competitor (usually Microsoft) comes in with one product, a clear message ("it's the best!") and puts the other company out of business. If the other company had sold off or canceled one of its two similar products the disaster would have been avoided.

I consider that book the best book on how the major players in the software industry got to where they are today. When it came out it got hardly any press. Hardly anyone has heard of it. I think that's sad. It is a "best kept secret" book. It is written by a person that was "there when it happened" and he tells the stories in excellent detail. Each chapter teaches you something important. Oh, and most of his case studies involve companies that were beaten by Microsoft. If you don't want history to repeat itself, read this book.

If I was Oracle, I'd sell off MySQL and PostgreSQL right away.

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I don't know, I think that Oracle should probably keep MySQL as it is an entirely different type of "database" than Oracle, and geared for a different platform. I think the problem with the merger is that Oracle will become even more symbiotic with Sun hardware leaving everyone that doesn't want to use it out in the cold.

I just checked the PostgreSQL sponsor page, and Sun is one of two gold sponsors of the project. But there are three platinum sponsors: Command Prompt, EnterpriseDB, and Red Hat. Oracle is likely to cease funding their most powerful (IMHO) competition, but my bet is PostgreSQL is likely to survive - and my favorite candidate for the "I'm the best!" conqueror of the field.

Sun had no hope of survival by the late 1990s when McNeely Locked-in on selling "boxes" and stopped listening to the marketplace. Sun created huge value with Solaris and Java, but had no idea how to capture that value so it just kept doing what it always did. Eventually, the market didn't see the value in the boxes any more, and the value of Solaris and Java had been frittered away. A lesson for any company that it must adapt to market needs or it will be squashed. Read more at

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