Oracle confirms Ellison has sights on Novell, SUSE Linux

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Oracle confirms Ellison has sights on Novell, SUSE Linux

Redwood Shores (CA) – This afternoon, an Oracle spokesperson confirmed to TG Daily that statements made by the company’s CEO, Larry Ellison, to the Financial Times in a story published this morning, stating that his company is considering production of its own Linux distribution, and is mulling over the prospects of acquiring a big Linux company in order to do it.

The software maker declined further comment, though the Associated Press reported just minutes prior to this filing that Oracle has apparently investigated a possible acquisition of Novell, the producers of SUSE Enterprise Linux 10. Novell acquired the rights to SUSE Linux through an acquisition in its own right, which was completed in January 2004. In his comments to FT, Ellison stated that he has had his eyes on Novell for some time, though his appetite had been tempered to just “considering” the possibility rather than launching a takeover study.

Despite analysis this morning of Ellison’s interview stating that he may also be interested in purchasing Red Hat, his direct quote from the interview itself would indicate otherwise: “I’m not going to spend $5 billion, or $6 billion, for something that can just be so completely wiped off the map.” It could be interpreted, however, that Ellison does have a particular fate in mind for Red Hat.

Oracle grows its company through mergers and acquisitions, and is proud of that fact. The company brandishes its announcements of at least one merger per month like trophies on its corporate Web site, the newest one among them being billing software producer Portal, announced just last week. For its part, Novell has been polishing its image, perhaps in an effort to appear more ripe for the picking, its president, Ron Hovsepian, has been making bold statements in the press, including one last week that his company’s forthcoming desktop distribution of SUSE Linux 10 will become a legitimate challenger to Microsoft Windows. Ellison has historically considered himself and his company predominate challengers to anything Microsoft.

Long-time Linux journalist Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols, in his Linux Watch blog this morning, stated he took Ellison’s comments uniquely seriously. “When most people talk like this, I really don’t pay them any mind,” Vaughn-Nichols wrote, “but Larry Ellison isn’t most people.”