% fortune -ae paul murphy

Reading the Oracle tea leaves

In reviewing RDBMS and related licensing I found something I hadn't expected: I knew that Oracle's strategy is to shift the revenue base to applications and so ultimately position itself to give the infrastructure products away - but I hadn't realized that Sybase and IBM have pretty much resigned themselves to selling only to their customer bases.

And yet, it appears that both are transfixed in the headlights of impending change: desperately focused on continuing to do what they've been doing:

In the short term the adaptive failures at Sybase and IBM suggest an opportunity for Oracle: just licensing all the infrastructure tools at small, fixed, percentages of the hardware cost as an interim step on the way to open sourcing the products would let them scoop up a lot of new business - perhaps even enough to avoid or significantly postpone having to go all the way down to free.

In the longer term, however, this stagnation is bad news for customers of all three companies, not terribly revelant to Microsoft, and good news for open source - because the defectors have to go somewhere, and for most of them that somewhere isn't Microsoft.

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.