Not everyone was convinced the software giant should expand into hardware, but buying Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion better positioned Oracle to compete against IBM and EMC and deliver new products to existing customers. Oracle has made a major acquisition every year since 2005, usually buying good technology on the cheap. (Its most recent, the $1 billion purchase of Art Technology Group, was its ninth deal last year.) With $25 billion in cash on its balance sheet, expect more.
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Last updated March 31 2011: 7:05 AM ET