Andy Bechtolsheim describes the role of Sun Microsystems - the company he co-founded in 1982 - within Oracle as "a bizarre transformation" that has changed Sun from "an open source company to a vertically integrated appliance platform running Oracle's database and applications".
While he believes that this transformation is a loss for the open source community, Bechtolsheim understands Oracle's logic as the business model at Sun wasn't working.
"I think Oracle will make more money from Sun than Sun ever did," he said.
Bechtolsheim explained that, while Sun had originally been well placed in the market, it had been overtaken by the requirements of the developer community.
"The company started as a leader in the open source community, but the writing was on the wall by 2001 when Linux started to become the more popular platform in the late 1990s," he said.
"From then the market shifted away from Sun and the firm never really captured it back, as it had to keep up investments on its Sparc platform to satisfy customers. So it was really hard to change the company around."
Bechtolsheim is clearly an advocate of the smartphone revolution; he owns an iPhone, and expects the future of business to be based around such devices.
"The shift to smartphones is faster than anything in 30 years. It's clear that people prefer to have one device that can do everything, and it's expected that there will be more smartphones manufactured than PCs by 2012," he said.
"As such, business will shift to smartphones and the likes of Google will optimise applications for that market. It's been a quick shift that has caught Microsoft off guard. Microsoft missed the music thing like the iPod, the phone thing like the iPhone, and now the iPad."
Asked whether Microsoft should be worried by its failings in the mobile space, and whether a large shift to the cloud could hurt its business, Bechtolsheim argued that the company has time to turn it around, but that Google is a major threat.
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