Thursday, March 19, 2009

IBM and Sun -- Win - Win?

Sun MicrosystemsImage via Wikipedia
The Wall Stree Journal reports that IBM is planning to buy Sun, maybe even inking the deal this week. Sun reportedly wants a buyer, and IBM makes sense. Why?

Sun is a company which has recently transitioned to an open source business model, but they haven't quite figured out how to make it work yet. Java, MySQL, and a good part of Solaris are OSS now. Then of course there's and VirtualBox. People knowledgeable about Sun have talked about the struggle inside the company over OSS, with the public face seeming to waffle over what it wants and where it needs to go. It hasn't quite figured OSS out as a business model.

Then there's the hardware side. SPARC and the server line have seen a recent refresh, and enterprise geeks have been drooling over them. Does IBM really need more hardware in its line-up?

In contrast to Sun, IBM is a business that understands open source. It has been selling services on several competing OSS operating systems since 2000. It makes billions every year with OSS. Acquiring Sun will give Java (which IBM already has a competing implementation of), Solaris, and the other offerings direction. IBM will figure out how to play this software to profit.

Good luck on the merger guys. It sounds like a win-win situation.

Dana Gardner has a nice article explaing why the purchase makes no sense.


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