Only one more shopping day until Collaborate starts and I can’t wait for the big event of the year for our community to begin.  The Monday keynote by Oracle President Charles Phillips and by the top technical executive Tom Kurian has the potential to be one of the more significant Oracle presentations in years.  This is because Oracle is the most reluctant of all the major vendors to explain what it is up to.  Its attitude is to let the products talk for themselves.  Hearing two key people from the Oracle inner circle explain a major change in company strategy thus is a rare occurrence. 

Oracle obviously acquired Sun Microsystems earlier this year with the hope of taking its business in a whole new direction.  The thinking behind that acquisition and what it will mean to those of us who depend on Oracle for critical software products has not yet been explained.  Monday’s keynote will represent the first serious attempt by Oracle to fill us all in. 

The acquisition binge that started with PeopleSoft / JD Edwards five years ago has gone very well for Oracle making it hard to question the wisdom of buying Sun.  At the same time, twenty or so major IT hardware companies have faded away in the last 40 years.  I can’t think of a single case where the buyer of one of them got anything of great value.   No vendor has yet succeeded in transforming itself by buying a failing hardware vendor.  Will Oracle buck the trend and become the first?  We can hope so, but it’s hard to guess ahead of time how it plans to do so. 

Oracle’s expanded product line now includes servers, storage, a Unix variant operating system, microprocessors, an open-source DBMS as well as Java and all that goes with it.  How all this will be folded in and sold alongside the existing offerings is a complete mystery.  I can’t wait until Monday to start to understand how all this is going to work.

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