Month in review

Oracle said it would buy Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion in a deal that will add server, storage, Java software and open source database units to Oracle’s already considerable stack. The acquisition came after talks broke down between Sun and IBM and holds wide implications both for Sun customers and Oracle’s existing partners, including NetApp, EMC and HP. The news will also concern users of the open source database product MySQL, acquired by Sun for $1 billion in early 2008. Oracle said it was particularly thrilled to get its hands on Java, describing it as the most important software the company has ever acquired. Industry insiders suggested Oracle could attempt to offload parts of Sun’s unprofitable hardware portfolio.

IBM joined Cisco and HP in releasing ‘cloud-ready’ hardware, unveiling a service-oriented architecture (SOA) appliance it said would help customers to build private cloud infrastructures. The WebSphere CloudBurst appliance allows users to provision and manage virtual instances of application servers quickly, compensating for peaks in demand. The move follows Cisco’s entry into the server market with the announcement of its Universal Computing System (UCS), a combined server, networking and storage platform built for scalable, virtualised environments. Meanwhile, HP released a pre-built system called BladeSystem Matrix, which includes server, storage and networking components.

Indian IT services company Tech Mahindra agreed to pay $500 million for a controlling stake in corruption-struck IT services firm Satyam. The company offered $351 million for a 31% stake and will purchase a further 20% of company shares for $225 million, after beating rival bids from Indian engineering firm Larsen & Toubro and US private equity firm WL Ross and Co. Tech Mahindra is part-owned by BT, which set up the company as a joint venture with Indian automobile manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra in 1989 and employs around 26,000 people. The Indian company revealed it will borrow $440 million to pay for the acquisition.

A former US department of homeland security official was quoted in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) as saying that Chinese and Russian cyber-espionage is pervasive across the US. The official said cyber spies had been detected mapping critical infrastructure and planting tools capable of destroying parts of it, including the electricity grid. A senior Pentagon official also told the WSJ that the defence organisation had spent $100 million repairing ‘cyber damage’ in the past six months. Russia and China dismissed the accusations as “pure speculations” and the product of a “Cold War mentality”.

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