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Microsoft and Oracle have announced a combined strategy to support each other’s products. But it’s what they didn’t say that is most interesting.

Microsoft and Oracle are the world’s two biggest software companies, and have been fierce rivals for years. But now they have come together in the face of the common enemy – the new breed of cloud upstarts.

In joint statement the two software giants have announced a partnership that will enable users to run Oracle software – including Java, Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic Server — on Windows Server Hyper-V or in Windows Azure and receive full support and certification from Oracle.

Microsoft will also offer these Oracle products to Windows Azure customers, and Oracle will make Oracle Linux available to Windows Azure customers. “Java developers, IT professionals and businesses will benefit from the flexibility to deploy fully supported Oracle software to Windows Server Hyper-V and Windows Azure.”

What’s it all mean? It means that Oracle and Microsoft, for all their might and power and customer base, see the cloud as the biggest opportunity – and the biggest threat. They are increasingly increasing against Google and Amazon, and a host of smaller players, in the emerging cloud space. Their traditional packged software model is under threat.

Both have moved strongly to the cloud, but obviously feel they need ti do more. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

“Microsoft is committed to giving businesses what they need. That is the ability to run enterprise workloads in private clouds, public clouds and, increasingly, across both,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO. “Now our customers will be able to take advantage of the flexibility our unique hybrid cloud solutions offer for their Oracle applications, middleware and databases, just like they have been able to do on Windows Server for years.”

Oracle was equally enthusiastic. “Our customers’ IT environments are changing rapidly to meet the dynamic nature of the world today,” said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. “At Oracle, we are committed to providing greater choice and flexibility to customers by providing multiple deployment options for our software. This collaboration with Microsoft extends our partnership and is important for the benefit of our customers.”

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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