Sun software spin-offIf its not going to be used to sell hardware, then it should be given its own life, outside of Oracle, its wasted value, just to be specification Reference Implementations, that is comical, its industry-grade, and can stand on its own, it should be set free. MySQL, SSO, ESB, JEE, even NetBeans could sustain a whole new company, and these are redundant assets within the parent company's offering, they are not investment worthy, so why not let someone else do something with it. Cannibalization is possible, but considering the pay-back on green environments it could get to and turn-back in to maintenance revenue with a simple agreement from parent and spin-off, there is very little logic that just letting them wither on the vine in the argument that Sun was bought for hardware alone, and it is in keeping with the long-term principles of holding off Great Plains in medium-sized accounts. I have said this all before with some degree of implementation plan, like my earlier logic on a fork on Google Code, i dont need to see that exactly happen, but it needs room to breathe, and right now the oxygen on Glassfish, in particular, is being cut-off from ExaLogic sales push. This is not the only value of Sun, more can be done, and the only way I can see anything getting near its true value is for a spin-off.
This reminds me a lot of iPlanet. Back then, when the Sun-Netscape Alliance was in its first year, there was a lot of hype for the Sun investment in Netscape products. I was a kid, on my first job out of grad school, and actually advocated for an IPO, i was naive, but eventually fell in to line that it would work better as a vertical solution. And it did, it served Sun well, even though it caused us to work over-time to clean up the iAS 6.0 mess, it served Sun well. That didn't show up in the acquisition price, but Sun would have been virtually a worthless chip designer had it not been for the middleware assets. Oracle is doing its best to revive Sparc, and i applaud them for that, I think they should continue doing it, its great for the Valley, great to overcome Google's black-hole of data center design support, other companies need non-Google cloud data centers, and Oracle with Sun hardware fits the bill. Good job whoever worked on that, even Solaris seems to be safe for existing accounts. But the other side of Sun is breath-takingly innovative. All the middleware assets are better than JBoss and Spring Source, and by not addressing their value, Oracle is giving legit competitors a little more breathing room. Just keep 51%, split up 49% with investors who are savvy on enterprise software, and let some employees have a period of time where they could be employees of Oracle, still, while working on the start-up of acquired Sun software assets. Its really straight-forward, and is custom-made for an aggressive company like Oracle. It would appease the Sun employees who are not fortunate enough to work on Fusion, and give a little energy to the growing international monstrosity that is Oracle. It would simplify things for everyone.
Customers would know that they have the support of Oracle, if they invest in this new iPlanet-like company. Call it the Oracle-Sun Alliance, or whatever, just get some value out of it. Its like Oracle executives would rather keep WebLogic as the only option to punish customers, they are eventually going to get something better in IIS, .Net, and Great PLains, when it is all rolled-in to one environment on VS, only Glassfish stands in the way of this happening. Dont let it die out of fear of the unknown, like WebLogic will be dead if there is some innovation, WebLogic is not going anywhere, it is the development environment for BPM on the ERP apps, that is huge, like really huge, but it cant be expected to also fend off more nimble cloud purveyors as well, that is not logical. Oracle needs both, but that is not what is happening now, customers see the messaging about departmental apps, so no matter what Glassfish people tell Oracle sales reps, there is no way to get in the customer conversations, it is as an after-thought in Oracle strategic direction. There is no reason this should be the status quo, there is room to move forward, but it takes fresh thinking, and see the challengers as real, dont get caught flat-footed on your flank-side.