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How is the hardware business going Oracle?

Oracle announces its fourth-quarter revenue on June 20. One thing to look out for is the company’s hardware sales performance.

Four years have passed since Oracle paid US$7.4 billion to buy Sun Microsystems.

The goal was to become a leader in the high-end server business – the company calls them “Engineered Systems”. That’s code for an expensive box loaded with Oracle database and applications.

Was Sun Microsystems a smart buy for Oracle?

To date. the strategy hasn’t worked. Sales have not been strong.

The company’s hardware revenue dropped 18 per cent in 2012. Market share fell from just over five per cent to a whisker over four per cent.

Perhaps the biggest admission of defeat – although no-one in the company would dare admit it – is the worldwide server alliance formed with Dell.

Company boss Larry Ellison continues to tell the world the Sun Microsystems acquisition was strategic and profitable. Maybe there are people who believe that. The simple truth is the world is moving to new computing models built around the cloud and those clouds don’t run on Sun kit.