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When Oracle lays its cards on the table to present its road map for the
combined Oracle and Sun Microsystems organization, one thing developers can
expect is consistency as far as Java is concerned, according to an Oracle

In a meeting with eWEEK on Jan. 26, just a day before Oracle CEO
Larry Ellison and other Oracle executives are scheduled to unveil Oracle’s
plans for integrating Sun’s assets, Robert Shimp, vice president of technology
marketing at Oracle, told eWEEK, "You’re going to see business as usual as
far as the whole Java business goes." Without going into specific details,
Shimp indicated that Oracle’s stance vis-a-vis the Java platform will be at
least on par with Sun’s, if not better for developers. In short, Oracle is
expected to maintain a status quo situation with Java.

"We are very much committed to open, standard computing," Shimp
said. "So we are going to continue to drive a lot of the open standards
and open-source projects [that both Sun and Oracle have participated in]. We’re
also committed to customer investments in the Sun platform. So we’re going to
invest more than ever in SPARC, in Solaris, in Intel and Linux, too. I think
customers will be very pleased with the product road map that they see coming
out of all this."

Overall, at the Jan.
27 Oracle Hardware and Software Strategy event
that will take place at the Oracle
Conference Center
in Redwood Shores, Calif.,
the company will focus on three key messages: the future of its combined
Oracle/Sun products, customer relationships and business models, Shimp said.

"When it comes to products, we’re going to talk about how Oracle is
able to deliver completely integrated solutions from the application level all
the way down to the disk," Shimp said. That includes all Oracle software,
database and other applications, and Sun hardware servers, storage,
virtualization and so on—"all engineered tested and certified to work
together," he said.

Moreover, "The thing that makes that unique is that Oracle is really
the only company now in the marketplace that can deliver all of that,"
Shimp said. "IBM, HP, SAP,
Microsoft, they all are missing some significant part of the equation—such as
the applications or the hardware, or all of the infrastructure. So we think we
have a significant opportunity to grow a huge new business for Oracle out of

Oracle also will describe its plans to innovate across the stack and between
different layers of the stack to add functionality that will increase the
overall performance and the security and reliability of the systems the company
will offer.

"You’re going to hear about how we’ll deliver more complete and
integrated systems that will dramatically change the landscape in the
marketplace," Shimp said. "We will provide everything that you need
to deliver a complete solution in the data center. The business model is to get
out in the marketplace, compete and grow this business. We are very optimistic
about our ability to build a significant hardware business for Oracle."

Also on the products front, Oracle will provide more industry solutions,
according to Shimp.

"Oracle is already No. 1 in things like retail and telecommunications
for software, and Sun also has a significant industry footprint, for example,
in the telecom industry with their Netra servers," he said. "And
that’s going to expand our footprint and give us a stronger position in those
types of markets."

Regarding the overall business model for the newly enriched Oracle
organization, Shimp said the company will remain focused on ways to streamline
the business.

"However, I do think that it’s important to note that any reports about
large employee layoffs are incorrect," Shimp said. "There is going to
be restructuring that eliminates redundancies in some parts of the business.
But there’s also going to be additional new hiring in other parts of the
business. So I would characterize this as much more of a transformation of the
business—actually getting it better aligned for growth."

On the customer relationships front, Oracle will move to add some
"balance" to the Sun channel strategy, Shimp said.

"At Sun, in the last few years they had moved to a 100 percent indirect
model where they sell through partners," he said. "Oracle is taking a
more balanced approach. We have direct sales and we also have sales through
indirect partners. And we’re going to move the Sun business to that same model—essentially
exactly the same model that the Oracle software business uses today."

In addition, Shimp said Oracle will be taking many of the Sun enterprise
customers to a direct sales model. "That will enable us to have more
strategic relationships with those customers," he said. "It will also
enable our partners to focus and specialize in more specific areas and be able
to deliver better value there."

In addition to the stage-setting Jan. 27 strategy event, Oracle plans to
unleash a barrage of communication upon its customer base to update them on new
offerings the company will be providing. This will include, among other
things, "Sun Welcome" events in more than 70 cities, and more than 20
new product strategy Webcasts being produced for customers about the various
solutions the company is delivering.