Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:JAVA) is going gentle into that good night. Shareholders approved the sale to Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) with an unimpressive 62% approval margin. The deal won't close until Sun and Oracle clear the last regulatory hurdle, but it looks like a done deal. Given the lack of overlap between the two partners' product portfolios, I don't see any antitrust issues getting in the way.

The low shareholder approval indicates that many keenly interested observers don't think this is the best way to use Sun's assets and personnel. What will happen to the Java language? Will Oracle sell server systems, spin out the hardware arm of Sun, or kill it altogether? Is it safe to assume that the Solaris operating system will be around for the long haul?

Hewlett-Packard (NASDAQ:HPQ) played on this uncertainty on the eve of the shareholder vote in a press release cheerfully titled "We've got your back." In it, the jack-of-all-technology pointed out that HP can and will support Solaris running on HP servers, and would love to help you move over to Linux, to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows, or to HP's own HP-UX flavor of Unix.

More than 100 customers have already made the switch to HP support over the past six months; notable recent defections from Sun include respectable names like Staffordshire University and a large video-on-demand provider to British Telecom (NYSE:BT). But this press release was clearly more of a fishing expedition than a chest-thumping exercise in braggadocio -- HP talks about cost-savings benefits and the ease of mind you get from moving to HP support, with little emphasis on battles already won.

Larry Ellison's gang has a sterling reputation for making the most of its buyouts -- but not so much for preserving the bought-out technologies and cultures. Therefore, it's not surprising to see rivals pecking at Oracle while it's digesting recent acquisitions. For example, VMware (NYSE:VMW) made a very similar play a couple of weeks ago in response to Oracle buying virtualization expert Virtual Iron.

While these thinly veiled attacks probably do shake loose a few fence-sitters here and there, and definitely are worth the price of a press release, they won't hurt Oracle at all. If there is a mass exodus of Sun customers coming, it'd be because Oracle is sucking the life force out of Java and Solaris. Will that happen? I don't think Oracle can afford such recklessness, but your mileage may vary. Use the comments box below to let your fellow Fools know what you think.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a bio if you like. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.