It used to proudly boast that its Java application server was the best - but it had no problem buying the far more popular BEA WebLogic server and a slew of enterprise technology in 2008. This vastly expanded Oracle's middleware presence, now borne on the back of its Fusion software line. With a string of high-profile acquisitions adroitly executed, Oracle further moved to purchase the foundering Sun Microsystems - in a single act taking over stewardship of Java software standards and becoming a hardware company.
In August, Oracle served notice that it would take a different approach than Sun's to Java when it sued Google for patent infringement related to that company's use of Java in its Android phone software. Software fans differ on the wisdom of the move - but clearly it is a new day for Java, with a far more business-like group ready to step in where Sun would diddle.
At the combined OracleWorld and JavaOne conferences in San Francisco, vendors, press and users alike will closely inspect Oracle's moves on Fusion and SOA, its databases, the Java Developers Kit, the J EE enterprise component standard, the GlassFish open source application server, the Java ME portable device architecture and a lot more.