How will Oracle steward the Java programming language?
On the day he announced the deal, Ellison called Java “the single most important software asset we have ever acquired.” It could be a prophetic statement, since Oracle’s ownership of the programming language, a computer industry standard, would have wide-reaching effects. Java runs on 800 million PCs and 2.1 billion cell phones, and Oracle hasn’t been shy about raising prices on its products. That means it could pump up Java revenue from the $220 million Sun booked in fiscal 2008 to perhaps $1 billion over time, says Citigroup (C) analyst Brent Thill. Controlling Java could also help ensure that customers of the dozens of companies Oracle has acquired since 2005 have a smooth path to new versions of Oracle’s applications written in the language.