Oracle made some moves this week that look like the opening pawn moves in a master chess game. The end game will have Oracle having a controlling position in every aspect of Enterprise software development.
First of all, Oracle has removed InnoDB from the MySQL Classic Edition. Now, you can still get the GPL community edition that has InnoDB in it. But if you want support, you’ll have to buy their version. Oh, and they just raised the price on that. I’m not sure if they require it or not, but if you use Linux Oracle prefers that you run their software on THEIR version of Linux – a customized Red Hat. This week they also released plans for the JVM that will include a free version and a premium paid version. Oh, and if you want some new hardware that will really make it all work well together, they can sell you that too (they bought Sun, remember?).
So it’s pretty clear to me that Oracle is playing for keeps, and playing to own the Enterprise space. Want to use a database? Buy Oracle, or use MySQL… but if you want support, you pay them. Then you pay them for Linux. Then license the JVM. Then license the app server (they bought BEA last year, so WebLogic is all theirs now too). Want to code in Java? Well, they own that too. Business folks call this “owning the vertical.”
Watch for them to take even more steps to make sure that they have control points around as many places they can. Nearly all software that gets written is business application software. Clearly Oracle has been embedded firmly there for a long time – but these moves are enveloping and will sink hooks into so many more places. I predict that when Google and Oracle settle – and they will eventually, since the cost to litigate a huge patent battle does no good for either party – that Oracle will get some hooks into mobile as well. Maybe some email integration, or provisioning, or something deep and fundamental.
So watch out, stay alert, and think about your tools. Or you too will be assimilated.