Speaking last week to the American Chamber of Commerce in Cairo, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was asked his take on last week's announcement that Oracle will acquire Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion.
Ballmer, quoted by Reuters, strangely answered, "I have no idea why a software company would buy a hardware company," adding that Microsoft doesn't "want to buy any hardware companies."
Give us a break. Ballmer knows exactly why Oracle is buying Sun. Does somebody have to spell out to him how and why?
OK, we will. How about for all the software IP that this particular "hardware" company also has, not to mention all the huge telecom, government and scientific deployments it has? Sun has been one of the most creative software companies in history. It developed and/or acquired—and currently maintains—a long list of standard enterprise software assets, including Java, long a standard for Web application development, and MySQL, the world's No. 1 open-source database with more than 11 million deployments and counting.
To a lesser extent, the Solaris operating system, ZFS storage file system, NetBeans software development tool set, GlassFish Java application server and OpenOffice.org office suite are also valuable assets that work well, are respected and have great value.
Let's see, does Microsoft have anything like Java, ZFS, or an open-source operating system or database? Um, the answer to all three would be a "no."
Does his silly response make it appear as though Ballmer is downplaying the deal because it empowers Oracle in the market against his own company? That would be a "yes."