The database industry had been consolidating for years, culminating in IBMs purchase of Informix. Now there are only three or four legitimate database players. But Ellison is still wrong. Getting rid of companies doesnt solve the problem. First of all, Ellison doesnt see mergers as an efficient method of vendor consolidation. He says companies should simply disappearand go bankruptjust get completely out of the business and get the heck out of Oracles way. I fail to see how mass bankruptcies can help an industry. When companies disappear, products disappear. That means less competition on features and price. Why would that be good?Another plausible alternative is what is happening at IBMwhich has so many WebSphere-branded products that even product managers within IBM cant figure out whats going on. The only difference that consolidation makes is that its easier for the CFO to cut checks to a single company. Thats not a good-enough reason to give up choice. Whats more, there are plenty of product markets that are growing, which means there is a need for them. There are dozens of niche companies that have specialties in areas like geocoding, security and application integration, a market in which Oracle participates only because of its relationship with a small Silicon Valley company. If that small company disappeared, Oracle wouldnt play in the enterprise integration space. Can you spell "IBM bait"? Its been almost two years since Cisco CEO John Chambers said the IT downturn is like a 100-year flood, catching everyone off guard and laying waste to an industry. Since then, the deluge has only gotten worse. Maybe a good old-fashioned 500-year flood would make us all better people. Thats basically what Ellison is saying. If he really believes that, Oracle must be in worse shape than hes letting on because the only beneficiary of fewer vendors would be Oracle. Would it be better for anyone else? I dont buy it. Most Recent Stories by John Taschek:
IT pros may lament the sheer number of product choices, but even with one vendor, called for example, Oracle, youd still have a lot of products. And these products would be subject to internal corporate politics rather than outside competitive pressures. Why would that be better? Either that or the remaining companies could roll all their technologies into a few different products and come out with something like Power Units pricing. OopsOracle did that, and it didnt work.