Oracle (ORCL): The Perfect BlackBerry (BBRY) Buyer

BlackBerry (BBRY) is up for sale. Oracle (ORCL) once saved another hardware-software company (Sun Microsystems) from certain doom. Will Larry Ellison open his wallet for the mobile market?

The VAR Guy

August 12, 2013

2 Min Read
BlackBerry is for sale Will all roads eventually lead to Oracle
BlackBerry is for sale. Will all roads eventually lead to Oracle?

So BlackBerry (BBRY) has put itself up for sale while also considering a private equity move. Some pundits wonder if the Z10 smartphone maker will break itself up into a mobile service provider and mobile device company. But The VAR Guy wonders: Does a more surprising fate await BlackBerry — at the hands of Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison? Before you dismiss Oracle potentially buying BlackBerry, consider this history lesson.

Once upon a time, Sun Microsystems was left for dead. The company’s niche hardware (SPARC) and niche operating system (Solaris) couldn’t keep pace with x86 servers running Linux and Windows. Then along came Oracle and Ellison in a shocking move, buying Sun and eventually launching Engineered Systems that combine hardware, system software, databases, middleware and applications from one company.

Admittedly, Sun (overall) isn’t exactly a growth business for Oracle. But Ellison and President Mark Hurd know how to cut costs while focusing on the enterprise market. Hurd has insisted the Sun acquisition has absolutely paid for itself. And the Engineered Systems business has been growing.

This Sounds Familiar

Now, fast forward to BlackBerry’s current plight. Most skeptics have left the mobile company for dead, assuming BlackBerry will never, ever recover vs. Apple iOS and Google Android in the mobile consumer market. 

But perhaps that’s exactly the point. It’s time for BlackBerry to retreat to enterprise and business computing. BlackBerry must get far smaller in order to become profitable. BlackBerry needs somebody who has the guts to gut the company.

Will Larry Ellison (and Oracle’s war chest) answer that call for help? Hmmm… Oracle remains a powerhouse in the enterprise software market. And Oracle Cloud now ranks among the world’s Top 100 Cloud Services Providers, according to Talkin’ Cloud. But Oracle isn’t known as a mobile powerhouse just yet. 

BlackBerry could give Larry Ellison a fresh start in mobile — and BlackBerry a second chance on life in the enterprise. 

BlackBerry’s market cap was $5.56 billion when U.S. markets completed trading on Aug. 12, 2013. By the way: Oracle paid about $5.6 billion for Sun back in 2009 (net of Sun’s cash and debt). 

PS: Oracle potentially buying BlackBerry is purely speculation on The VAR Guy’s part. 

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