Split-up Microsoft, says Ellison

And in the interest of balance, loosen Sun control of Java, apparently

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has been going for Microsoft again, claiming it's been using a monopoly illegally, and calling for it to be split into two parts. This is a pretty moderate stance by the standards of the day -- current thought is that it should be split into lots of parts: Baby Bills, in fact. But Ellison has plenty reasons to smile at the moment. Microsoft has been taking heavy fire in the antitrust case, and although he expresses himself ready and willing to testify if he's asked, he hasn't been, and he says that Oracle hasn't been injured by Microsoft, so it hasn't been sucked in. Larry's definition of injury, however, seems somewhat flexible. He yesterday repeated his claim that Gates told Bob Palmer, then boss of Digital, to stop making network computers, and that subsequently Bob stopped. That particular Digital project was the Shark NC (see Gates forced Digital to kill NC, says Ellison), and Oracle had been heavily involved in it. So the derailment of a major plank of your NC strategy wasn't injury, Larry? Radical. But a rather more interesting Oracle development started to emerge yesterday as well, when the VP of Oracle Intel Technologies Division Kevin Walsh was telling people that Sun should loosen-up on Java, adding that the success of Linux and the open source model could be seen as a reaction to the way Sun controls Java. The Oracle Intel division, naturally, has a lot to do with Linux these days, and comparing and contrasting the business models must have got Walsh thinking, if he wasn't doing it already, about prying Sun's fingers loose from Java. He doesn't seem to want a completely independent standards body, as HP and Intel have demanded, but he does want some change in the way Sun handles it. With Oracle starting to put its weight behind the other camp, Sun may soon find the pressures for change too great to resist. ®

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