What connects Research in Motion, VMware and Juniper Networks?
They're on a list of 14 companies Larry Ellison's M&A behemoth Oracle could Borg next, according to Software Advice - a company that claims to match software buyers to the right products.
Crazy thinking? The 14 companies do, after all, lie just outside of Oracle's traditional enterprise software market.
But then, so did Sun Microsystems. That was a deal that took Oracle from the familiar world of digesting rival software providers like PeopleSoft and BEA Systems and into server and storage hardware.
Software Advice has said it's no longer so crazy to think in such narrow terms and the road to similar blockbuster deals lies wide open.
The company has grouped its 14 into four categories of deal: fairly straightforward, messy but potentially profitable, bold moves into the network layer, and pricey buys in hot markets.
Virtualization giant VMware is in pricey but hot along with Ellison-investment Salesforce.com, Juniper and RIM would be a bold move taking Oracle into the network – not so crazy when you consider network giant Cisco Systems moved into servers with its Unified Communications Server.
Messy but profitable could see Oracle buy Computer Associates but if Larry's got enough on his plate, and – that's OK, we understand – Tibco or Teradata would count as "straightforward".
According to Software Advice, these companies meet four criteria: they lead in an enterprise technology market, they are relevant to Oracle's stack, and satisfy on financial performance and valuation in relation to Oracle's size.
Off the list are SAP and IBM - two companies Larry fixates on - Hewlett-Packard and Cisco. They are considered too big, although it is worth noting Microsoft and SAP discussed a potential merger in 2003, proving size might not prove a barrier for some with ambitious thinking.
Software Advice has invited you to vote on which of the 14 you think Larry will assimilate next, here. ®