In a recent Forbes.com article, Oracle's Java Problems, Lee Gomes questions whether Oracle can make money off of the Java platform it inherits from the Sun acquisition. At best, Java was really just a PR and marketing vehicle designed to "cause investors to perceive Sun much more as a software company than it really was," according to Gomez. He continues to add that:
...Despite being at the very center of the Java Web bubble, Sun was never able to make money with the software. Nor could it continue to use Java to disguise the fact that it hadn't been able to successfully shift from one hardware business model to another. What reason is there to think Oracle could possibly fare any better?
Java's ubiquity no doubt stems from its openness and the community innovation that has propelled it forward. Sure, Sun could've made Java proprietary for the sake of profit, but this would surely come at the cost of the pervasiveness that the language enjoys today. Moreover, would Oracle really care to acquire a new hardware business and some nondescript language named after a coffee bean?
A multitude of business models have emerged around Java in the last decade and the marketplace of tools, servers and services it has spawned would certainly indicate that Java is profitable. Oracle will surely figure out a way to financially capitalize on its new Java investment; hopefully, without too much collateral damage to the evolution of the platform.
What do you think? Is Java doomed for an Oracle retrofitting that renders it irrelevant? Will JavaLobby need to be renamed to LarryLobby?