Ellison says he’s committed to the hardware business

There’s been a lot of speculation about Oracle’s intentions in buying Sun Microsystems, and whether the highly successful software company really wants to keep Sun’s hardware business going. But Larry Ellison is insisting that’s exactly what he plans.

“If a company designs both hardware and software, it can build much better systems than if they only design the software. That’s why Apple’s iPhone is so much better than Microsoft phones,” the Oracle CEO told Reuters in an email interview. Oracle helpfully supplied a transcript in a regulatory filing with the SEC today.

Ellison’s comments amplify what he said when the $7.4 billion deal to buy Sun was announced last month. But at that time, he mostly talked about the value that he saw in Sun’s software, including Java and Solaris. While many took the deal as evidence that Oracle is now planning to sell a broad array of data center products, some skeptics have predicted Oracle would quickly unload Sun’s hardware segments — or at least the ones that have been unprofitable of late.

Oracle has only limited experience with hardware. Last year it introducted the Exadata storage appliance, which Oracle helped design and Hewlett Packard is manufacturing, using Intel chips. But Oracle said he plans to increase spending on Sun’s proprietary SPARC chips and “design advanced features into the SPARC microprocessor aimed at improving Oracle database performance.”

Ellison went on to say that he wants to keep Sun’s hardware engineers and also plans to keep selling Sun’s disk and tape storage systems, while designing new systems too.

Oh, and although those plans put Oracle in competition with HP, as well as IBM, Cisco and others, Ellison said he’s committed to Exadata and his company’s “excellent relationship with HP.”


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