Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Oracle's big presence at PHP Conference: Can you say LOAP?

Oracle has a very strong presence at this PHP conference. They are a "Presidential" sponsor, had a keynote, and handed out a slew of CDs in the conference tote bag. As a matter of fact, their stuff was the only real thing included in the tote bag.

Let's see, what do we have here, let me open the box...
  • Four (count them ) 4 copies of Enterprise Linux 4 - Oracle's supported distribution of Enterprise Linux
  • Enterprise Linux 5 and an associated source CD
  • Oracle Database 11g for Linux
  • Database Developer CD for Linux
  • Java and PHP Developer DVD (Preview)
At the keynote, they talked about their free version of Oracle that you can embed in your application and "you don't even have to tell us" (this is included with the Database Developer CD).

To me this means that Oracle definitely notices that there are a growing number of apps built with the LAMP stack, and I suspect they are trying to make a presence here -- they want to see more LOAP (Linux-Oracle-Apache-PHP) and less LAMP.

It's funny how they are trying to associate themselves with the open source community without actually going open source. More than once I have heard Oracle reps assert that the value of open source is free, and that since they now have a free version, all things should be equal.

As I have mentioned before, I think they are missing the point. Or they get the point, but are not in a position business-wise to say publicly that they get the point. Their best and only possible response to an open source threat is to make a (slightly crippled) version of their software available for free and market it to developers.

Solaris was in the same boat with Linux, and it was suffering. But we actually took the plunge and made Solaris open source, so now it really is a level playing field.

Oracle's cash cow is still database revenue. So, as Nitin Borwankar predicts, they cannot mess with that business model, and this is limiting their options to how they react to open source databases.

Perhaps some day more of their revenue will shift to their application stack, support and services, and they could potentially sacrifice the cow and open source their database and make the fully functional version absolutely free.

They could start charging at the point of value - when the user purchases services and support for their mission-critical production application. But right now they appear to be staying with their existing business model, and are doing their best to stop or slow the open source database juggernaut. We'll just have to see how that strategy pans out...

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