Two other permutations of this quartet are basically non-starters: Microsoft and IBM dont really have any visible synergies going, and, Oracle and SAP are, well, still the best fight card in the industry. The last one, IBM and SAP, has a large degree of cooperation, but, in my opinion, nothing like what Oracle and IBM are up to.
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Which leaves IBM and Oracle as the closest members of the Big Four, and getting closer all the time, in ways that were unthinkable even two years ago. And at this rate, you have to wonder what more the two companies can do to get even closer. The best three options? IBM could sell Oracle its database business, or, even better, its middleware business, and Oracle could off-load a consulting business that is less and less interesting to Philips anyway.
Such a deal would leave SAP and Microsoft, desperately needing each other more and more, and may itself signal the start of some asset-swapping between those two companies as well.
For those of you who think I must be dreaming, I am. Ever since Oracle admitted the impossible, that its sacrosanct one-database policy was no more, Im ready for any wild idea. Why not? Four years ago I would have said you could never merge a bunch of big enterprise software companies and get anything but a whole lot of problems for your trouble. Oracle proved me wrong on that one, and now Im ready to believe that almost anything is possible. Even Oracles Fusion running on DB2, for heavens sake.