Back in the boom, serious web application development more or less began and ended with some kind of application server and lots and lots of Java. Now that many simpler technologies are growing more and more capable, though, plenty of folks are reconsidering this assumption, and with good reason. While Java is great for some things, when it comes to complex or demanding automated web applications, there’s almost no reason at all to touch Java. The LAMP architecture (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/Python/PHP) replaces it very, very well and much lower development costs and much greater flexibility. Don’t like MySQL? Use Postgres. Don’t like PHP? Use Perl and a framework like Mason. There are even whole new frameworks (with real-world examples) coming up behind LAMP, too, that will further push Java aside in this market.
(Obvious in the above is that there’s also no reason for most people to consider paying good money for a database server. This is why Microsoft is glad it has other products, and why Oracle has been busily finding other database-based businesses to move into as the database server itself becomes a commodity item.)