- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Oracle Corp.’s $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc. would have minimal impact on technologies that most consumers notice.

Oracle supplies databases and other software to large organizations, while Sun is a major vendor of server computers, data storage machines and business software. Consumers touch those technologies in indirect ways, such as by calling up a Web site or pulling down payroll information from a corporate database.

Consumers are more likely familiar with Java, a programming language that Sun invented. Software developers use Java to build Web sites and programs for cell phones and other devices. You might notice your computer advising you to download a regular update to keep Java-based programs running smoothly. Those updates, which come from Sun, presumably would now come from Oracle if its deal for Sun is completed this summer as the companies expect.

Sun also has been one of the key promoters of OpenOffice, a free, open-source alternative to Microsoft Corp.’s Office software. Sun founded the OpenOffice.org project in 2000, and has been the primary contributor of new computer code to the software. Oracle could now take on that role as part of its broader efforts to challenge Microsoft.

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