Oracle Buying BEA: what's that say about Fusion?

The big news today is Oracle has plans to acquire BEA. BEA’s flagship product, WebLogic is a direct rival to Oracle’s Fusion middleware, on which it has based its entire service oriented architecture strategy.

This strategy is Oracle’s vision of how it will tie PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel and its own ERP system together using a standards-based platform.

That Oracle president Charles Phillips has been in talks with the BEA board could be seen as an admission that Oracle Fusion is not good enough.

Oracle is seeking to buy BEA, presumably for the market leading Java 2.0 application server, a product it has until now totally ignored.

A few years ago at Oracle OpenWorld, following the PeopleSoft/JD Edwards acquisition, Oracle began supporting rival WebSphere middleware from IBM. The main reason was to keep users of JD Edwards happy, who needed the IBM support.

At the time Oracle saw no need to support WebLogic. After all, it had its own Fusion product, didn’t it?

How times have changed.

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Following impressive initial 'bluster', this M&A seems to have gone extremely quiet. With John Wookey departing Oracle, Fusion's post merger position could certainly be interesting. Unanswered questions also abound regarding the position of other similar size players (TIBCO et. al.). The market seems to be consolidating into 4 or 5 major end to end stacks. Which debutant will be courted next? Will Larry be persuaded to cough more than $17 / share, or will BEA find a 'gazumping prince' in another part of town?