Jul 3, 2013
Is it better to be famous or infamous? Sometimes you can achieve both. Darth Vader has emerged as perhaps the most well-known fictional villain ever, and his name has become part of everyday vernacular. But in IT we have our own well-known villain: a man named Larry Ellison.
Ellison, the head of Oracle Corporation, has famously called called his product unbreakable; he is brash and cocky, but he generally backs everything he says up with products that just flat-out work. Over the years, though, Ellison and Oracle have seen the rise of their own enemy: Redmond-based Microsoft.
This is why the recently-announced partnership between Oracle and Microsoft was such a surprise. Now, while it’s not quite the same level of shock as seeing Lauren Conrad at Heidi Montag’s wedding, it is a strange move for Oracle, who once hired its own private investigators to look through trash to find evidence that would bring Microsoft to its knees in an antitrust suit.
So why the sudden change of attitude? Did Ellison see pigs fly? Did he spend some time finding inner peace on the Hawaiian island he bought? I think it’s a simpler answer — I think Oracle and Microsoft both understand that the two companies working together would be good for customers. If it’s good for customers, then both companies will benefit from it.
In every feud, there comes a time to bury the hatchet when it makes sense to. Darth Vader teamed up with Luke Skywalker to defeat the Emperor when the time was right, so why not have two foes become friends if that’s what customers want?
The details behind the deal are that Oracle has partnered with Microsoft to deliver Oracle software from Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform. Customers of Azure will be able to run Java, Oracle Database, Oracle WebLogic Server, and Linux on Windows Server Hyper-V or the Azure Cloud. Additionally, Oracle will deliver full certification and support for its software to work on the Microsoft platforms.
While not all partnerships work out, this one certainly looks like a win-win for both parties. Microsoft gains new customers on its Azure platform, and Oracle gains customers that want to run Oracle software in the cloud. The big loser of this partnership is VMWare, proving the old adage that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.
As an industry watcher, I certainly hope this is just the beginning of the collaboration for the two companies. Azure has evolved and can be thought of as a Microsoft-based cloud operating system which should be leveraged for more than just Microsoft applications. There’s no reason to assume that there won’t be some kind of deeper integration to make one plus one equal three.
The IT environment is getting more complicated, and there are more choices than ever for a customer that wants to deploy an application. It’s good to see Oracle and Microsoft put aside their differences and do what’s best for the customer. When this happens, we’ll see a “rising tide” that lifts both companies.
Image credit: Kenny Louie (flickr)
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. He provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and with long term strategic advice. Kerravala provides research and advice to the following constituents: End user IT and network managers, vendors of IT hardware, software and services and the financial community looking to invest in the companies that he covers.