'Round and 'Round I.T Goes
Vertical integration is dead. At least that's what we used to say. As an old fart in this dusty corner of the world, I have seen the model shift from one-vendor-for-everything--hardware, services, software (OS and applications), think I.B.M in the 70s and 80s--to stick-to-your-knitting, chose best of breed: OS from company A, hardware from company B, applications from C-L, services from company M. Here we go again.
Oracle, it appears is no longer satisfied to be a huge software shop making healthy margins on licensing (short of running the mint, I know of nothing that comes closer to printing money than licensing).
Virtualization has revived the big box mainframe model. The new vertical integration, just like the old, will prize product differentiation over interoperability. Will Java be forked, with some features proprietary to Oracle and others remaining freely available? Will ZFS be proprietary?
A vertically integrated company can assure themselves acceptable margins on products that have up to now been under price pressure from outside vendors in one of two ways: Will it be innovation and economies of scale, or proprietary designs and walled gardens?
Early days. Oracle is accustomed to higher margins than many (any?) hardware companies. I wouldn't bet the house on openness. If R&D is slashed, that does not bode well for innovation. In the near term, bet on layoffs.