suraj.sun points to a story in the New York Times indicating that the much-rumored merger (or purchase) that would have united Sun with IBM may have dissolved before it began. Excerpting: "I.B.M., after months of negotiations, withdrew its $7 billion bid for Sun Microsystems on Sunday, one day after Sun's board balked at a slightly reduced offer, according to a person close to the talks. The deal's collapse raises questions about Sun's next step, since the I.B.M. offer was far above the value of the Silicon Valley company's shares when news of the I.B.M. offer first surfaced last month. .. Since last year, Sun executives had been meeting with potential buyers. I.B.M. stepped up, seeing an opportunity to add to its large software business, acquire valuable researchers and consolidate the market for larger, so-called server computers that corporations use in their data centers. ... Now, Sun is free to pursue other suitors, including I.B.M. rivals like Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems. Cisco recently entered the market for server computers."