Oracle, Sun Link Up for New Product; HP Snubbed

oracle-sunWith the fate of its proposed $7.4 billion takeover of Sun Microsystems Inc. uncertain amid antitrust scrutiny, Oracle Corp. is moving ahead with a new product incorporating both companies’ technology, and snubbing Hewlett-Packard Co. in the process.

Sun and Oracle unveiled a new database machine Tuesday built from Sun hardware and Oracle software.

The companies claim the Exadata machine works twice as fast as the previous generation of the device. The earlier version of the machine was built by Oracle and Hewlett-Packard Co. and when it was introduced last year marked the first time in Oracle’s history that the company sold computer hardware.

The machines are a combination of servers, which carry out heavy computing chores, and database software, which companies use to store and retrieve information they’ve stored, such as payroll data. Oracle is the world’s No. 1 database software company.

Oracle confirmed that it is no longer making database machines with HP. HP declined to comment.

Oracle’s proposed takeover of Sun, which is being held up by European Union regulators, has touched off a fight for Sun’s computer-server customers. Sun rivals HP and IBM Corp. have sought to lure business from Sun by raising concerns among customers about the future of Sun’s hardware products under Oracle.

The tactics have been working. Sun’s worldwide market share in servers stood at 10 percent in the latest quarter, down more than a percentage point from last year, according to data from research firm IDC.

Oracle has fought back with advertisements promising to invest more deeply in Sun’s products than Sun, which has struggled with financial problems for nearly a decade, could do. Oracle has also said it will “dramatically improve” the performance of Sun’s hardware by designing it to run better with Oracle’s software.

The U.S. Justice Department has already approved the Oracle-Sun deal. European Union regulators are concerned about Oracle’s plans for Sun’s MySQL software, an open-source database that competes with Oracle’s proprietary database. If EU regulators find problems with the deal, one way it could be handled would be to force Oracle to sell or spin off the MySQL business.

Oracle is scheduled to report fiscal first-quarter earnings Wednesday after the market closes.

The new database machine was unveiled by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Sun’s Executive Vice President, John Fowler.

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