Oracle surprised many people by buying Sun Microsystems a few months ago. But that's nothing compared to the statement made by its CEO yesterday: Is Oracle-Sun going to sell a netbook?
Larry Ellison was speaking at the JavaOne conference, and his exact words, when asked about the company's plans for manufacturing computers, were: "I don't see why some of those [netbook] devices shouldn't come from Sun-Oracle."
Now that he's bought up the maker of the mighty SPARCstation, Ellison, maker of databases, is considering extending a hardware tentacle into the juicy netbooks market.
But should Oracle-Sun go ahead and make a netbook? Almost certainly not. For starters, Sun's expertise is in high-end Unix terminals and enterprise-class network servers—not at all the right basis to design a cheap and cheerful netbook. While bringing that kind of off-target knowledge into a product's design can result in wonderful laterally ingenious end products, I have a feeling in this case Sun's engineers would plop out a dog of a machine despite all their Java and Unix expertise.
Second, the netbook market is super-saturated with nearly indistinguishable devices, and there are some very big-names already in the mix.
And let's not forget: The netbook is dead—innovation is being driven toward more powerful small laptops, and we may be about to witness the rise of the magical tablet/mobile internet device PC instead.