But today, the two companies have decided to become friends in a way that's really good for their enterprise customers.
"It's about time," Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer said during a press conference announcing the news. "I'm glad we have a chance to work in much newer and most constructive way with Oracle."
The partnership includes five parts:
1. Both companies promise that Oracle's database and other software will be "certified" to run on Windows Server, on Windows cloud, Azure, and with Microsoft's Hyper-V technology (a tech that helps lots of software run on a single server). That means that the software will be fine-tuned to work together and if there is a problem, both companies will help the customer fix it.
2. Effective today, the license that covers Oracle software also covers Oracle software on Microsoft's cloud, Azure. This is called "license mobility" and it means Oracle customers will not be charged more when using Oracle software on the Windows cloud.
3. Oracle's software is ready to go on Azure. In geek speak, companies can immediately fire up pay-as-you go instances of the Oracle database, Oracle's WebLogic web server and Java.
4. Microsoft will offer fully licensed and supported Java in its cloud Windows Azure. In the past Azure supported Java, but now, it supports a wider range of Java development tools on Azure.
5. Microsoft will offer Oracle's version of Linux, an operating system that competes with Windows, on Azure. Azure already supports other flavors of Linux.
Ultimately, any time the big software companies agree to work together, enterprises win.
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