Brian Aker, former Sun MySQL guy, and current proponent of the Drizzle MySQL fork, gave O'Reilly Radar an update on where MySQL is at the moment.
During the interview, he was asked to speculate on Oracle's original motives for acquiring Sun. 'IBM has been moving their P Series systems into datacenter after datacenter, replacing Sun-based hardware. I believe that Oracle saw this and asked themselves "What is the next thing that IBM is going to do?"
That's easy. IBM is going to start pushing DB2 and the rest of their software stack into those environments. Now whether or not they'll be successful, I don't know. I suspect once Oracle reflected on their own need for hardware to scale up on, they saw a need to dive into the hardware business. I'm betting that they looked at Apple's margins on hardware, and saw potential in doing the same with Sun's hardware business. I'm sure everything else Sun owned looked nice and scrumptious, but Oracle bought Sun for the hardware.