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The Almighty Buck Businesses IT

Oracle Buys BEA 115

Posted by Zonk
from the consolidate-much dept.
In an event not as surprising as this morning's buyout announcement, but still noteworthy, Oracle has purchased BEA Systems. The middleware maker was snapped up for the sum of $8.5 billion, the second offer Oracle put forward. "BEA had long been considered a prime takeover target in an industry that has been consolidating for several years, but BEA executives had repeatedly dismissed Oracle's overtures, saying the company could perform better independently. Mr. Icahn began buying up BEA shares last summer, and today owns 13 percent of the company. The deal makes Oracle the undisputed leader in the market for middleware, business software that gets its name from its role as a layer of programming code that resides between a company's database system and the payroll, human resources and inventory systems that use the same data."
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Oracle Buys BEA

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Oracle is a bigger evil than Microsoft.
  • BEA Employee Comment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @02:51PM (#22069704)
    It will be interesting to see what they ultimately get for their $8.5B. I work in a BEA group where quite a few folks are ex-Oracle, and they have universally unkind things to say about their former employer. The mood is decidedly un-optimistic in our CA office.

    Any tips on how to request to be on the list of layoffs (to get the severance)?

    -OracleHater
    • by tgd (2822) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @03:03PM (#22069902)
      Step 1: Don't post as AC
    • by eln (21727) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @03:03PM (#22069908) Homepage
      I think it's pretty safe to say at this point that if you work for a company that has anything to do with middleware, database software, or pretty much any other enterprise software, you'll eventually end up working for Oracle or being laid off by Oracle.

      • by blantonl (784786)
        Hogwash!

        I don't ever see Oracle acquiring IBM. Steve Mills would laugh in Larry Ellison's face and cast him aside like a little used rag-doll.
        • by Pseudonym (62607)

          I don't ever see Oracle acquiring IBM.

          I know!

          IBM could claim ill-defined, vacuous and ultimately non-existent property rights, and try to extort money from Oracle's customers. ThThen they could sue Oracle and drag it on for years, pulling down IBM's share price, and hope to become enough of a bloody nuisance that Oracle buys them out.

          After all, IBM knows all about this kind of profit-making venture.

      • ...or... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        .... or IBM, or Software AG, or SAP

        Although Oracle has a knack of taking perfectly good products and tying them to Oracle in ways that aren't fathomable.

        For example, Oracle's LDAP service requires you to use an Oracle DB to store the data attributes, despite the fact that this is demonstrable a bad thing. Everything Oracle does is not just to make money, but to make it selling you more DB licenses, even if it doesn't make technical sense to do so.
        • If you ever wondered how badly can some one f*** up apache web server code base, take a look at Oracle Web Server. You have been warned.
      • by tjwhaynes (114792)

        I think it's pretty safe to say at this point that if you work for a company that has anything to do with middleware, database software, or pretty much any other enterprise software, you'll eventually end up working for Oracle or being laid off by Oracle.

        I work for IBM on DB2 LUW. Should I be worried? :-)

        Oracle and IBM continue to acquire companies in the middleware space to fit into their strategies. Buying BEA is a large commitment on the part of Oracle and it'll be interesting to watch any fallout or rejoicing in the coming months.

        Cheers,
        Toby Haynes

      • by ndykman (659315) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @04:56PM (#22071284)
        Or Microsoft. Or IBM. And doesn't RedHat count with the whole JBoss thing?
        • by Cederic (9623)

          Or SAP, or Network Associates, or Tibco, or one of the other big boys.

          BEA had a great presence in the middleware market for people that weren't buying full 'industry solutions'. It didn't really play in the market for people that were, and that's rather a large market.

          To be fair to Oracle, they kind of do play in that market. Then again, they are indeed buying up everything in sight right now..
    • by plopez (54068)
      Transfer to QA. Testing is just overhead, right? We waste too much money on it as it is.

      Seriously, if there are rumors of layoffs, talk to your manager about it or HR.
    • by Sir_Real (179104)
      What do they get? They get to eliminate middle ware competition. The Orion (Oracle's Middleware "server") product SUUUUUUUUUU-UUUUUUUUUUUUU-UUUUUUUUCKS. I mean it's freakin awful. I don't know much about the BEA product, but I know that years ago their sales force and customer service was what turned us off of them and to Oracle. Oddly enough, we're just now getting done migrating off of WebLogic to Orion (OC4J/AS). I'd like to think that this will get us the best of both worlds (the support of oracle
    • by fragbait (209346)
      Generally speaking, IT sure is close minded for a group of people who promote open things. Granted, companies mergers always hurt someone. In my 9 years as an IT professional across three fortune 500 companies, I've met way to many close minded, technology biggotted people. Most often they promote open source. I call them yeahbut's. They agree (yeah) and they caveat (but) everything. Call them what you will (BOFH). The days of geek being chic are gone. Business don't care if you get to program somet
    • by Darkforge (28199) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @03:43PM (#22070444) Homepage

      Any tips on how to request to be on the list of layoffs (to get the severance)?
      Ask your manager nicely. I'm serious!

      I was at Plumtree when BEA acquired us (now it's the "Business Interaction Division" making the ALUI products) and a number of people said to their managers "BEA isn't the place for me" and walked away pretty happy.

      The joke was always that BEA stands for "Built Entirely on Acquisitions" ... they seemed to know how to handle themselves when acquiring. Here's hoping they'll handle themselves gracefully as they're being acquired.
      • That was when we stopped calling you Plumheads and started calling you BIDiots =P

        But seriously, sucks to be us. I h8 Larry. =(
    • by Deanalator (806515) <pierce403@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @03:51PM (#22070588) Homepage
      Any bets on the next few headlines today?

      I'm going for

      Sun buys Oracle
      Google buys Sun
      Google buys Microsoft
      • According to this [slashdot.org] your first two predictions maybe true by next year (Oracle + Sun for MySQL/SleepyCat or Google + Sun for J2ME).
  • i was just reading (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @03:04PM (#22069928) Homepage Journal
    About how Oracle is floundering, and quite close to melting down from its attempts at integrating all the middleware platforms it has picked up in the last four purchases it made. Obviously, when you're having serious trouble getting all your different software platforms integrated, the best solution is to buy another one. Good move Oracle.
    • by leandrod (17766)

      how Oracle is floundering, and quite close to melting down from its attempts at integrating all the middleware platforms it has picked up
      Where did you read this?
      • by Tim C (15259)
        Well I can't vouch for what was said, but in my thankfully limited experience, OAS is a big steaming mess. I just pray they don't do *anything* to WebLogic, my experiences with it have been far, far better.
        • by darjen (879890)

          OAS is a big steaming mess.

          After developing a failed project based on the Oracle stack last year, I would have to agree. I hope I never have to use OAS, and JDeveloper ever again. Oracle DB wasn't too bad, and JSF was buggy but somewhat alright to work with. But not nearly as nice as Spring/Hibernate. IBM seems to definitely be more advanced in their middleware tools, and I would choose them hands down.
        • Oh? Around our office, we're pretty convinced WebLogic (Portal) is a steaming pile ... we'd switch everything to Tomcat if management would let us. But they already paid for WebLogic, you see.
          • by Cederic (9623)
            Weblogic Server has always been pretty well behaved (well, since 4.5). Portal never really convinced me it added enough benefits to be worth the extra complexity (and BEA licence costs).

      • by Surt (22457)
        http://money.cnn.com/2005/09/12/technology/oracle_analysis/ [cnn.com]
        http://www.forbes.com/2007/11/14/oracle-consolidation-openworld-tech-cx_wt_1115techoracle.html [forbes.com]

        There was some better source, unfortunately I can't find it at the moment.
        Basically, it sounded like Oracles efforts to find commonality in all of their platforms were turning into a mess. Not working there myself I can't confirm or deny.
        • Try reading those articles again. The one from 2005 I didn't bother reading, as it's old. The one from Nov 2007 is just a collection of quotes, basically, from clients of Oracle who are saying "We don't know how they're going to do it, and it would be good to know since it affects our business plans. It's probably pretty complex". It's just a fluff piece from Forbes to fill whitespace.

          In other words, you didn't recently read that they're having trouble. You recently read that some people have speculat
          • by Surt (22457)
            No, I recently read that they were having difficulty. It was an off the record interview with a vice-president in software development. Unfortunately, I can't find the source at the moment. So you can believe or not, as you'd like.
            • No source no trust.

              Sorry, but that's the rules I've learned to play by on Slashdot. Particularly since you listed a couple sources that don't support what you were saying...

              I can't comment much on my understanding of the situation for a couple reasons, but if you can't source something as vague and negative as that, I can't put any trust in it.
    • Maybe it's like the story about bringing in cats to kill mice, but then they needed dogs to chase away all the cats, and wolves to chase the dogs, and elephants to chase away the wolves and finally mice again to scare away the elephants. Maybe they think this new software will seek out and devour the other four. Or not.
  • Looks like the interest rate slashing and high inflation is starting to pay off.
  • by Murmer (96505)
    "Middleware" is IT-speak for "we've got this closed-source thing over there, and it doesn't talk at all to this closed-source thing over here, and we have no idea what their data formats or wire formats are but we've spent scads of money on both of them and now we need them to talk to each other, so can you please figure out how to make that work?

    It's the user tax on closed formats and closed source, basically.

    • Compatibility tax (Score:3, Informative)

      by sjbe (173966)

      It's the user tax on closed formats and closed source, basically.

      Agreed though I would add lack of compatibility (or inability to plan compatibility) to the items being taxed. For a lot of companies "off the shelf" just doesn't quite get the job done and heaven forbid two pieces of software actually communicate. [/sarcasm] While I certainly wouldn't argue forward compatibility [wikipedia.org] is easy (quite the opposite in fact) I see middleware as the cost of building or buying systems with insufficient flexibility up front. Companies get trapped by limitations in off the shelf so

    • So what you're saying is if open source gains market share, these types of acquisitions will become obsolete...?

      Well, I know where I wouldn't invest
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by neurovish (315867)

      "Middleware" is IT-speak for "we've got this closed-source thing over there, and it doesn't talk at all to this closed-source thing over here, and we have no idea what their data formats or wire formats are but we've spent scads of money on both of them and now we need them to talk to each other, so can you please figure out how to make that work?

      It's the user tax on closed formats and closed source, basically.

      So how does an in house Java application running on JBoss and using a MySQL database fit into your analysis of Middleware?

    • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @08:49PM (#22074406)

      "Middleware" is IT-speak for "we've got this closed-source thing over there, and it doesn't talk at all to this closed-source thing over here, and we have no idea what their data formats or wire formats are but we've spent scads of money on both of them and now we need them to talk to each other, so can you please figure out how to make that work?

      Bullshit.

      While middleware is appropriate in the context you put forward, it is also appropriate in the "We have a mainframe app we built ourselves 15 years ago and we need to integrate it with a new web app we've developed and have those to apps work together with all our external partners and regulatory bodies" type scenario. Whether the source code of either system is open or closed is irrelevant if the interfaces are well defined. Middleware makes sense if you look at it from the point of view of a business performing a staged upgrade, whereby they can leave legacy systems which aint broke running, implement new functionality on new systems (which wont require them to hire a bunch of 70+ year old COBOL codgers to maintain it for the next 15 years) and then migrate the old functionality to newer tech. It all happens seemlessly with a good middleware solution, at least in theory.

      Middleware is not a closed source tax, it is the mortar that helps keep solid infrastructure solid, whether you use open or closed source software.

    • by legonis (1053412)
      your level of understanding of Enterprise Architecture is truly amazing. Take an introductory course in distributed systems to learn what middle-ware role is in the whole picture. There is more to computing than just being open or closed source you know...
  • Am I the only person who read BAE Systems?
    • by mmxsaro (187943)
      From Wikipedia: BEA Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: BEAS) is one of the major companies developing enterprise infrastructure software. BEA makes middleware, products that help software run on top of databases. Founded in 1995, BEA has specialized in the enterprise infrastructure software market throughout its 12 year history, and currently has 78 offices in 37 countries. BEA is headquartered in San Jose, California.
  • Was I the only one thinking that?
    • by leamanc (961376)

      Was I the only one thinking that?
      No, metamechanical was thinking the same thing.
    • Consider how many times this kind of thing must have floated on larry elison dreams:
      Having some jet fighter factories and finally wipe that loser bill gates out of sight, so the world would finally recognize him, Larry Elison, as the One and truly One.
  • by ServerIrv (840609) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @03:29PM (#22070256)

    "This transaction is an excellent example of the great results that can be achieved for all constituencies when the shareholder activist is able to work cooperatively with management," Mr. Icahn said in a statement. (from TFA)

    Translation...this hostile takeover is an excellent example of how I can buy up lots of stock, sue said company into being bought out, the stock price artificially goes up so I make tons of money, lots of employees get screwed, and I don't care about the pawns in my money game," Mr Icahn laughed as he went to the bank with his ill gotten, but "legal" gains.

  • Hmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @03:52PM (#22070590)
    No Bea Arthur jokes. The world has truly moved on. *sigh* I'm old. :-(
  • So who is up next in this game of Techno-Monopoly that we are playing today? Apple to buy Red Hat? Microsoft purchases Mozilla? And who is the race car?
  • Saying something to the effect of "This transaction is an example of the great results for everyone that can be attained when the shareholder activist works closely with management."

    I think the other stakeholders (employees, customers) will take a wait-and-see approach.
  • "Software T-Rex eats Software Brontosaurus while OSS Meteor comes closer and closer."

    I can't help but think of both of these companies as outdated giants from the last decade.
    In that respect they go together very well.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The short dalliance of our people and technology inside the BEAuraucracy before the even bigger fish came along, was a clear-cut application of the Babbage Principle. The end goal was to overvalue the stock (no different from Enron except that it was legal). The means were to:

    1. squeeze us for revenue like there was no tomorrow.
    2. they didn't care about alienating our customers, as if they knew BEA'd not be around for long.
    3. get us to perform the responsibilities of ranks higher in the organisation, with
  • I've been working on middleware for 20 years, though I didn't know that for the first ten years. Middleware sits at the intersection of the application (the business logic that actually does something), the network and the operating system. So if, for example, you book an airline ticket using Expedia, the application is the Expedia booking engine for the booking which talks to the Global Distribution System (Sabre) for the aggregated data about flights, which talks to the airline reservation service (Worlds

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