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While Oracle’s acquisition of Sun my have surprised a lot of
people, the instant it was announced it made immediate sense to many. Oracle’s
and Sun’s technologies and other strengths are complementary, not competitive,
with each other. Database and applications get an operating system and
hardware. The deal combines Oracle’s sales-led organization with Sun’s
engineering focused organization. Not to mention that Sun is just a 20-minute
drive down 101 South from its new owner, Oracle—combining two companies within
the Silicon Valley venue and culture.

Sun’s Solaris is the most common operating system platform for Oracle’s
database and applications software, according to the companies. And Sun’s
efforts to win with cloud computing give Oracle something it needs—a
competitive play against SAAS (software-as-a-service) application company

Sun’s partners will get a strong database and application play that they didn’t
have before, while Oracle’s will get an OS, hardware and other software—plus all
of Sun’s green, open-source and data center initiatives. Oracle has said that
it plans to keep and continue to grow Sun’s hardware investments.

Indeed, the deal combines two technology giants and makes them more competitive
in the data center and in cloud computing against the likes of IBM,
Cisco and SAP, areas that are heating up
even in this recessionary year.

“Oracle plans to engineer and deliver an integrated system—applications to
disk—where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do
it themselves. Customers benefit as their systems integration costs go down
while system performance, reliability and security go up,” says Oracle
President Charles Phillips in an open letter released together with the
announcement of the deal with Sun.

But what about Oracle’s and Sun’s reseller channel partner programs? While both
Oracle and Sun have gone through phases of being considered unfriendly to the
channel, both companies also offer large reseller channel partner programs with
thousands of partners.

Oracle claims more than 21,000 channel partners worldwide and has said that
it targets
between 40 and 50 percent of business
to come from its indirect
channel. Yet in North America much of the company’s
revenues come from direct sales while indirect sales are stronger in other
geographies. That’s not something Oracle has wanted to change, and it’s unclear
what that will mean for Sun’s channel partners now that they will come under
Oracle’s umbrella.

Sun, with more than 11,000 channel partners worldwide, has said that 70
percent of its revenues come from its channel partners—a much higher percentage
than Oracle’s.

Oracle’s statements around the acquisition indicate that Sun partners will
become part of Oracle’s larger channel partner program, and the companies say
the deal will benefit partners of both companies. After the deal closes, Oracle
says Sun partners will get access to the Oracle PartnerNetwork, a unified
partner program, along with all its benefits and training options. Oracle also
says that it will continue Sun education programs after the deal closes.

“Oracle and Sun partners are expected to benefit by working with a single
vendor to address customer needs for enterprise systems,” Oracle says in a
Q&A document about the acquisition of Sun.

“After the closing, Oracle partners are
expected to benefit from improved access, support and training for Sun products
and solutions. Sun partners are expected to benefit from Oracle’s increased
support of Sun partners and increased investment in the combined solutions.
Both companies’ partners are expected to benefit from the complementary
solutions that provide an opportunity to increase business value and drive down
the total cost of ownership through an integrated, standards-based enterprise
product stack.”