?"> eWEEK: Is the new pricing of the Oracle Standard Edition One database an admission by Oracle that it has to lower prices to become more competitive? Phillips: You always want to do that, but you have to have a product to do it. So whats different now with these latest releases [is] the product reflects the ease of use attributes that people wanted on certain parts of the market. We always had a lot of power and scale, what was missing was the ability to appeal to customers who value ease-of-use more and automation, administration, and things like that. So we basically did an assessment of the product, had some consultants look at it for the last couple of years [and they] came back and pointed out hundreds of areas of the product that were manual that didnt have to be. We took that list and automated those tasks and created a workflow study on how to use the product everyday. So even for people who dont care about grid, theres a lot in [Oracle 10g] for ease of use, productivity, automation, even for large customers. Its a big leap for us. eWEEK: Would you go to an outside consultant to continue finding out the next step?Phillips: I dont know if we need to do it again. I think were there. In terms of the base platform now, it is different. Theres a level of automation that we just didnt have before.The bigger leap in the database, we took out 2000 third-party products that were adding complexity -- for instance, interaction issues with a couple of our core infrastructure functions, so we engineered those out and offered those components for free at no extra charges, when you do that it allows you to automate more. So you dont really need third-party volume managers or cluster wares that are complex. Some of these third-party components had their own quality issues. eWEEK: Where do you think Linux is broadly in IT industry as far as adoption curve? Any changes in commitment to Linux from Oracle? Phillips: I still think were early in the curve but its accelerating. Its becoming more mainstream and it certainly has proven itself in production. I think the risk perceived around Linux is starting to go away and now its just a matter of what makes business sense for any particular company. I cant say its just another OS, because we have put quite a bit of time behind commercializing it. Weve done a lot to make Linux acceptable in the marketplace. Having said that were not going to sub-optimize for any other platform, Linux has superior economics, especially Linux on Intel [Corp. processors] lowers the cost for customers dramatically. Stuff runs really, really well on Linux. Its a small tight operating system that can do one thing run server software very fast. The fact that its so small and tight, that usually means high quality as well, high performance, so theres all these benefits and its so much cheaper its hard not to recommend since the economics seem to favor it so much and the performance. eWEEK: How about Suse Linux, equally interesting as Red Hat? Is it a two horse race? Phillips: We support Suse as well, its obviously very important in Europe. I would say those are the two primary ones but theres Red Lion in China that seems to be coming on [and] were taking a look at right now. eWEEK: Where else do you see IT industry consolidation happening, what areas are we likely to see multi-billion-dollar acquisitions? Phillips: I cant really name any areas but it is natural that an industry thats now getting to be up there, 30 years or so, a lot of its founders getting up there as well, you start to see some consolidation and the buying binge, especially with the [stock market] bubble, [which] kind of supported companies that probably shouldnt have been companies. Now that thats gone away its a natural outgrowth. So consolidation seems to be the natural way for the next few years, but we arent not counting on that as our way of growing. We think we have enough new products coming out for organic growth and some things in the hopper even without acquisitions were pretty optimistic where were going. eWEEK: Even if the PeopleSoft acquisition doesnt work out, youve got a lot of money burning a whole in your pocket. Phillips: Well theres nothing wrong with cash. Its served us well in the past. PeopleSoft was one decision, one opportunity. Its independent of any other ones. Next Page: Can IT help differentiate?