After many days of rumours of IBM and Sun merger, we hear the news that Oracle will take over Sun.
It is amazing how iconic technology companies just fail to do business and eventually survive. I can think of Digital Equipment Company (DEC) which along with IBM, Unisys etc started the computer revolution. Among many products they had worth mentioning are, Operating System VMS, PDP Mini computers, Alpha Superfast microprocessors. When the PC revolution started, they lost market and were taken over by Compaq. It is unimaginable for me that Compaq a PC box seller would take over a true technology company like Digital. Compaq was a great marketing company but hardly a great technology company. Then, HP took over Compaq. Digital technologies are now part of HP. However, one finds no information of VMS, Alpha, or Digital Unix. All these products have been laid to rest.
Sun is a special company as one of its founders was Vinod Khosla, an Indian. In many ways it resembles Digital. It has its own microprocessor - Sparc, its own OS - Solaris, its own Hardware etc. Interestingly, Sun has promoted Java - the most popular development platform. Sun did amazigly well during the DotCom Boom. It had acquired Staroffice and started open source project Open Office. It has acquired Mysql, a popular and formidable database. However, one of the problems of Sun was anti-Microsoft stance. Scott McNealy wanted to kill Microsoft. Many of the Sun's projects were designed to be Microsoft Killers not revenue earners. Someone commeneted IBM made more money out of Java than Sun. How Ironic!
There is raging debate on implication of Suns acquition on its Open Source Projects specially MySql and Open Office. My feeling is that MySql will not be killed. In India, we had the case study of Coca Cola acquiring Thumsup. Thumsup still survives after nearly 20 years of acquition. If Oracle tries to kill MySql, it will assume a new avatar and survive.
However, there are lessons to be learnt from Sun travesty. More on these lessons another day.