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The Oracle-Sun Buddyfest: What's It All Mean?

Larry Ellison Commits to Java For At Least Another Decade in "Town Hall Meeting" with Sun's McNealy

In what the two companies billed as an "employee town hall," Oracle and Sun put their respective CEOs on stage January 10 to talk about the companies' relationship and future directions.

The "town" in this case was Redwood Shores, CA, or, more specifically, Oracle's Oz-like campus within that city's confines. The "hall" was Oracle's conference center.

Because the presentation was pitched primarily at employees of Sun and Oracle, the two chiefs, known for their aggressive stances, were in a jovial, frequently joking mood. Oracle's Larry Ellison (pictured) came off as the funnier and more amped up of the two. Sun's Scott McNealy seemed uncharacteristically subdued, perhaps because he wasn't on his own turf. He even joked that Sun lacks a capacious venue like Oracle's conference center, which was why he was in Redwood Shores.


Watch McNealy and Ellison on SYS-CON.TV

Employees of the two companies comprised most of the several-hundred strong that filled the center, and the message to them was:

* Take your Oracle/Sun counterpart to lunch
* Get out and sell
* Hammer the competition
* Prefer Oracle on Sun (over IBM)
* Java Rules, .Net drools

After both confirmed that Oracle was not buying Sun, McNealy did say, "We're on the same side, on the same team." The two men then brought the audience back to the 1980s, extolling the virtues of open systems and standards.

Interestingly, Ellison, more than McNealy, emphasized the "open" message, even though Sun had first staked out that territory with "Open Systems for Open Minds" campaign, launched 20 years ago. "We're betting that standards win," said the Oracle chief.

As part of their mutual initiative, Sun Ultra Sparc 4 models will come with Oracle bundled "free"--"going for share," as McNealy termed this arrangement. Buyers may elect to receive the software by agreeing to buy a one-year service contract from Oracle. Ellison assured the audience that Oracle sales reps will receive a commission on each such bundle.


More Stories By John A. Barry

John A. Barry is a former managing editor of InfoWorld and former editor-in-chief of DBMS Magazine. He also worked for Sun Microsystems in the late 1980s, and is the author of Technobabble, the definitive guide to the use (and misuse) of language in the IT industry.

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Most Recent Comments
Bill H. 01/19/06 12:05:40 PM EST

Ellison was funnier than Scott??? By what measure?
I seemed to me Ellison had a tough time trying to think of something witty to say, whereas Scott was always finding funny lines. He got more laughs too.

Technology Tuesday 01/12/06 09:13:08 AM EST

How often do 3 of the Valley's biggest superstars make public apperarances on the same day: Steve Jobs of Apple, Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems and Larry Ellison of Oracle...incredible.

InOtherNews 01/12/06 09:09:10 AM EST

'Sun CEO Scott McNealy started Tuesday's "town meeting" session for media and employees at Oracle headquarters by dispelling rumors that the two companies might be poised to announce a merger. But when he turned to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison for confirmation, he only heard hems and haws.' That was eWeek's take.

Oracle-Sun vs Apple 01/12/06 08:41:06 AM EST

Whats it all mean? The answer surely is simple: it means that Steve Jobs was getting all the attention because of Apple's sales reaching $5.7 billion last quarter, outstripping the company's $4.7 billion prediction as demand soared for iPod music players and Macintosh computers.

This was the Sun-Oracle answer. But the Apple numbers deservedly got 100x more attention.

NZheretic 01/12/06 08:21:00 AM EST

It makes a lot of sense for Sun to open source the Java Libraries and Solaris Kernel.

fm6 01/12/06 08:19:11 AM EST

I find it hard to believe that Sun can create software that's so good, people will buy Sun hardware just to run it. And if it's open source, they probably won't need Sun hardware to run it

No Surprise 01/12/06 08:16:32 AM EST

||| Oracle's Larry Ellison came off as the funnier and more amped up of the two |||

McNealy's too clever by half, and humor has to be scripted for him. Larry's funny on the fly.

Sun-Oracle 01/12/06 08:04:30 AM EST

So Larry's not gonna buy out Scottie? oh well...Bill's heart must have stopped there just for a moment. It seems he'll continue to be King Pin however for a goodly while yet.

QuoteUnquote 01/12/06 07:50:41 AM EST

McNealy (commenting on Oracle's plush auditorium): "We don't have a room like this. The hardware business has lower margins, I think. ... So, Larry, are you buying Sun?"
Ellison: "Well, you know, Scott ..."
McNealy: "A simple 'yes' or 'no' will do."
Ellison: "You'll see it in the newspapers. Oracle's strong preference is to do everything hostilely."

JDJ News Desk 01/11/06 01:26:44 AM EST

Because the presentation was pitched primarily at employees of Sun and Oracle, the two chiefs, known for their aggressive stances, were in a jovial, frequently joking mood. Oracle's Larry Ellison came off as the funnier and more amped up of the two. Sun's Scott McNealy seemed uncharacteristically subdued, perhaps because he wasn't on his own turf. He even joked that Sun lacks a capacious venue like Oracle's conference center, which was why he was in Redwood Shores.

JDJ News Desk 01/11/06 01:04:49 AM EST

Because the presentation was pitched primarily at employees of Sun and Oracle, the two chiefs, known for their aggressive stances, were in a jovial, frequently joking mood. Oracle's Larry Ellison came off as the funnier and more amped up of the two. Sun's Scott McNealy seemed uncharacteristically subdued, perhaps because he wasn't on his own turf. He even joked that Sun lacks a capacious venue like Oracle's conference center, which was why he was in Redwood Shores.