Historically, Oracle has a track record for figuring out what it wants to do and aggressively doing whatever it takes to make it happen. The PeopleSoft / Siebel acquisitions come to mind as a couple of recent examples. Most recently, Ellison told journalists that Oracle plans to go after Red Hat to provide support for Red Hat Linux, which seems to be Red Hat’s primary source of revenue.
With the recent Red Hat acquisition of JBoss, Red Hat now competes more directly with Oracle. I would expect this acquisition to impact the relationship between the two companies with the relationship moving away from a synergistic relationship between operating system provider / application provider while moving toward a more competitive and adversarial relationship. Raven Zachary of The 451 Group believes that this could be an indicator of future open source announcements from Oracle in the future. Ellison is also a master at getting attention and a reaction from the press, and it remains to be seen how much of this is serious strategy vs. an attempt to gauge the reaction to a possible action for Oracle in the future.
Open source is not the only area that has Oracle’s attention. The focus on the ERP market and specifically on SAP as a primary competitor is pushing Oracle toward an aggressive vertical strategy (banking, government, oil and gas, etc.) When “Asked if he is looking at more acquisitions to strengthen those vertical industry sectors and Ellison is emphatic: ‘Absolutely. We’re not done by a long shot.’” (ITP).
It will be fascinating to watch where Oracle goes next.