ericauchard1– Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Larry Ellison, Oracle Corp’s chief executive, is famous for making outrageous predictions about the future of the computer industry and being mocked by rivals and pundits.

But don’t underestimate the software maker’s latest moves into the hardware business.

Oracle’s surprised many last month that the company would buy Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion. Now Ellison has gone one better, telling Reuters he was “definitely not going to exit” Sun’s various hardware businesses.

The Oracle leader is not saying so directly yet, but the unmistakable conclusion to draw is that he is ready to embark on a new wave of mergers to consolidate the business computer market, once the Sun deal closes.