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Oracle doesn't need Red Hat. It needs Zend

From the 'why buy when you can build your own' files:

There is a lot of speculation out now about Oracle wanting to acquire Red Hat. It's a deal that makes no sense to me personally and one that I don't think is likely to happen anytime soon.

For one, Oracle has already demonstrated that it can take Red Hat products and through the open source licensing terms -- rebrand them.

Oracle Enterprise Linux is essentially Red Hat Enterprise Linux, just taken by Oracle and stripped of Red Hat's trademarks. Oracle clearly doesn't need to buy Red Hat for its software, since by definition Red Hat's software is open source.

Oracle could however stand to benefit from buying Red Hat's customers and support -- but considering that Red Hat is a strategic platform play for a number of vendors (including Cisco, HP, IBM and Dell), I just don't see it.

On the other hand, there is another strategic open source vendor that I think might make a really good fit for Oracle - namely commercial PHP vendor Zend.

Oracle and Zend already collaborate on a PHP distribution for Oracle so the two are hardly strangers. Oracle participates in the broad Java ecosystem, but if it owned the lead PHP vendor it could take a commanding position in the PHP space and carve out a real niche for itself. PHP is a critical component of the LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) web stack and with Zend in hand, Oracle could get a strong grip on its own web stack business.

I've written before that I though that IBM should buy Zend -- and I still think that would make sense too.

Zend is a crown jewel among private open source vendors. Its technology is widely used, but in my view still not benefitting from the massive sales forces and integration that a big vendor like Oracle (or IBM) could bring to the table. That Oracle has the cash and the open source expertise to buy just about anyone they want. The key for them though in my opinion is make a deal for something that adds value and extends their platforms.