This was an interesting play. I assumed Oracle would look to get into the OS game at some point, but I didn’t anticipate this particular play.
For those of you who don’t know, Oracle is now offering support for Red Hat Linux since they feel they have a better infrastructure and ability to offer the kind of support enterprises are looking for from their OS vendor; of course, this means Oracle thinks Red Hat is not currently offering this level of support and/or is not capable of doing so in the near future.
Of course, this begs the question: “why doesn’t Oracle just buy Red Hat?”. Well, who’s to say they didn’t try? It seems reasonable that a buy out was explored to some extent and it just didn’t seem like the best option (either due to price or due to the idea that this strategy might prove more useful to Oracle). Why not just take away a good chunk of Red Hat’s revenue stream; they will either go belly-up or make it much more of a bargain for a buy out at that point.
In either case, I think it certainly seems Oracle is getting into an arena that is incredibly interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if we will see “Oracle Linux” in the not-too-distant future, but then again, there may be another option that proves more profitable and beneficial than that which will be discovered. In either case, I think we can safely welcome Oracle into the OS market, as they have positioned themselves squarely inside it. I’ll be watching carefully as we see what happens to Red Hat as a company, Linux as an enterprise OS, and even Microsoft with Windows (XP, Vista, and Server products).