Back in 2010, critics worried that Sun Microsystems’ software portfolio would wither on the vine once Oracle got its hands on it. Five years on and the worst fears have proven baseless, yet former Sun diehards have had plenty to be disappointed about since Larry Ellison & Co gobbled the former server heavyweight.
Although Sun was founded in 1982 as a maker of Unix workstations, in its later years it had assembled a rich collection of software, ranging from servers and middleware to databases, virtualization platforms, high-performance computing (HPC) tools, and even the OpenOffice.org productivity suite.
Sun was also fairly innovative as commercial software firms went. By the 2000s it had become one of the largest corporate contributors to open source projects in the world. It had also adopted a unique business model, where customers paid monthly subscription fees based on headcount in exchange for unlimited access to everything in Sun’s software portfolio. Unfortunately, however, this strategy wasn’t earning it much revenue.