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So much for the "standards-based, open" SOA architecture we'd heard so much about. Suddenly things aren't looking so open and you're relying on Oracle's stack.

The last Fusion marketing myth centered on the unresolved question of whether Oracle, PeopleSoft, JDE and Siebel will live on or be merged into one Fusion suite combining the best of the best over time. "Will you 'Fusionize' every single application so people still have the choice to stay on Oracle, Sieble or PeopleSoft?"

"We will have a Fusion version for every application," Ellison replied. "So you're moving off these brands?" came the follow up. "No, well yes - by 2025."

To quote Ellison from his Sunday night gig, you couldn't make this up.

Then came licensing. In the wake of Oracle VM this week, "will you reconsider licensing, because with every feature Oracle is becoming expensive"?

The problem, according to Ellison, is not Oracle's per-user or per-processor charging or its fiendishly confusing calculations - it's you, the customer, who's stupid for having lots of little licenses and for not buying in bulk with one license.

"We'd much rather sit down with a customer and agree a company license - use as much as you need. Unlimited License Agreement (ULA) is our preferred license agreement.

"People used to think ULA was the prerogative of large customers. That's not the case. We are doing ULA with medium and smaller customers. Please talk to your Oracle sales person about going away form per processor or per person," Ellison advised.

This would be the ULA Gartner has warned customers over.

And, sorry if you've had to remove CPUs from your server because it's too expensive to use Oracle, as one audience member admitted, because it's too complicated for Oracle to re-work the numbers. "I agree there are certain cases where people swap out the processor," Ellison sympathized. "If you are on a very old machine, that's probably one scenario our licensing policy doesn't consider."

However, change to make everyone in all scenarios happy is "so enormously complex it's impossible to implement".

The lowest point in Ellison's working of the room, though, had to be when the billionaire CEO put one timid speaker in his place, not for not getting Fusion, not for not liking Oracle licensing, and not for disliking the fact he has to gut his server just to keep Larry's BMW-sponsored racing yacht afloat.

It was for "feeling happy" that some of the money he spends on a Microsoft product will help "fight disease" through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"Let me respond," Ellison said cutting the customer off before moving on. "Bill Gates was very generous. He gave a lot of Microsoft stock to the foundation a long time ago and they sold the stock... If you think, when you buy a copy of Microsoft Office tomorrow, that the money is going to some guy in the Andes you're very much mistaken."

See you at OpenWorld 2008. ®

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