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IBM Withdraws $7B Offer For Sun Microsystems, Says NYT 291

Posted by timothy
from the what-color-is-your-trial-balloon? dept.
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."
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IBM Withdraws $7B Offer For Sun Microsystems, Says NYT

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  • Purhase? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @06:44PM (#27469657)

    Is that internet slang for "much-rumured merger?"

    Who edits the editors?

    • Hmmm? I believe there is not really such a thing as a "merger". There is always a buyer. A "merger" is declared to be nice.

      C//

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tyrione (134248)

        Hmmm? I believe there is not really such a thing as a "merger". There is always a buyer. A "merger" is declared to be nice.

        C//

        No. A buyout is Computer Associates famous for buying corporations for their IP/Products and canning the staff. This would have been a merger with overlapping departments [accounting and human resources] being purged to keep IBM's staff. Every staff member would be interviewed to explain their justification for existing in the corporate structure moving forward. There are staff purges in mergers, just nowhere near the same level as a buyout.

  • Crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anthony_Cargile (1336739) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @06:45PM (#27469661) Homepage
    I was looking forward to the merger, actually.
    • ... after all, why not? They know how to make a profit.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        And it would aid the economy in the sense of the two pooling their money, and centralizing their spending. It would also aid us in the IT field, as the post-merger IBM would sell Sparc AND POWER hardware, with the option of Solaris or Linux on either one (theoretically), all bundled with IBM's famous support. IBM owning the rights to Java would work wonders for the Java community, especially in the Linux aspect, and IBM would have probably contributed more to StarOffice/OpenOffice using some Lotus material.
        • And it would aid the economy in the sense of the two pooling their money, and centralizing their spending. It would also aid us in the IT field, as the post-merger IBM would sell Sparc AND POWER hardware, with the option of Solaris or Linux on either one (theoretically), all bundled with IBM's famous support. IBM owning the rights to Java would work wonders for the Java community, especially in the Linux aspect, and IBM would have probably contributed more to StarOffice/OpenOffice using some Lotus material. I was really looking forward to the two becoming one, needless to say, especially for more formidable Microsoft competition (from both a business stance and IT stance).

          I read this paragraph fairly carefully, and I still couldn't make up my mind if you meant it or you were just being sarcastic to the max.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          And it would aid the economy in the sense of the two pooling their money, and centralizing their spending.

          Seeing as the whole justification of mergers is to "cut costs," I'm pretty sure the combined IBM/Sun would spend less money in fewer places. Centralized, yes. Good for IBM, yes. Good for the broader economy...probably not.

          It would also aid us in the IT field, as the post-merger IBM would sell Sparc AND POWER hardware, with the option of Solaris or Linux on either one (theoretically), all bundled with IBM's famous support.

          I'm not sure that I'd want that at all. IBM's support is famously expensive. Yes, the big blue army does know how to come through in an emergency, but they charge handsomely for the privilege. And constantly call you to make sure that you have everything from IBM that you could ever want.

          IBM owning the rights to Java would work wonders for the Java community, especially in the Linux aspect

          H

        • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:57PM (#27471761)

          ...and IBM would have probably contributed more to StarOffice/OpenOffice using some Lotus material.

          Good god no. Keep IBM well away from that, thanks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by saleenS281 (859657)
          I'm sorry, I just don't believe you've EVER dealt with IBM support, including your rosy picture painted in your response below. IBM in general, has grown so large they don't know their head from their ass. I have SEVERAL companies who made the mistake of replacing their IT department with IGS "IBM Global Services". The customer has hardware NOT from IBM with phone-home support. It phones my company, we call the customer site, and it gets routed to IBM. IBM doesn't know where the hardware is, doesn't kno
    • Re:Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by linhares (1241614) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:15PM (#27469901)
      My fears is that MS may buy SUN. At these prices, it's pocket change for them. And they probably do not love the fact that OpenOffice, VirtaulBox, Java, OpenSolaris, Netbeans, and a host of other things are open source and widely adopted. Despite all people that simply _detest_ java or openoffice, they probably hurt deeply microsoft.

      Wouldn't it be much much easier to Embrace Enhance Exchange if OpenOffice were in the hands of microsoft? That's what worries me.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Loadmaster (720754)

        The best part about open source: even if MS hates OO they can't kill it. Buying Sun would make no difference. It's like pee from a pool, man, and there ain't no way for MS to empty the pool and refill.

        • even if MS hates OO they can't kill it.

          Shame, really. Because if ever there was an open-source project that deserved to die, OOo is it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by IntlHarvester (11985) *

          OOo being Lotus-ized would be a fate worse than death, I think.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by GiMP (10923)

            Ask and you shall receive [lotus.com]. Thats right, IBM has already made an OpenOffice-based Lotus suite.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Draek (916851)

          The thing with OOo in particular is that most of the devs are Sun employees because the codebase is an extremely huge and confusing mess, so buying Sun out and firing all OOo devs would *seriously* hurt it as a project, perhaps not long-term but certainly short- and mid-term.

          Java and Solaris not so much, Java is far too important to IBM to be affected, and I guess there'll always be geeky hackers willing to adopt and maintain any abandoned version of UNIX, moreso with Solaris' reputation. But a MS purchase

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            buying Sun out and firing all OOo devs would *seriously* hurt it as a project

            In that case, since Sun is taking the role of old yeller, we should start learning more about the source code [anthonycargile.info] so as to keep the project alive after Sun.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by westlake (615356)
          even if MS hates OO they can't kill it. Buying Sun would make no difference. It's like pee from a pool, man, and there ain't no way for MS to empty the pool and refill.

          OpenOffice is down to about 24 full-time developers.

          Sun has invested enormous sums in trying to make OpenOffice a competitive office suite.

          But the suite is all it has.

          Microsoft can deliver an off the shelf solution for everything your business needs.

          Microsoft can employ thousands of specialists whose only job is to study and understand

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        So what is MS going to do, close the source code? All those products are opensource, they can't. Any other company (IBM, RHAT, NOVELL) would resume the investment in Java & OO.org, and could offer jobs to the original programms.

        • by linhares (1241614)
          They can't kill it, but they can lead it in a cumbersome fashion, with enormously slow progress and giant trolls fighting within the community. People might have to fork the code in this crazy scenario in order to really secure OO.org. But from a MS perspective, to play the hand of the nice boy while creating havoc with the code just might make enough sense to put out those billions. Then SUN would have to pull a Yahoo: "we won't go because it's Microsoft", and the stockmarket will not take that lightly.
        • Re:Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

          by setagllib (753300) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @08:39PM (#27470671)

          Sun didn't have to close the source to kill MySQL. Just forcing upon it a poor structure and community for continued development was enough to send away the lead developers. Nobody can say yet if any of the few forks will succeed.

          If Sun can ruin MySQL, I'm sure Microsoft can ruin everything Sun has done as well. Imagine when Java is just an optional compatibility layer on top of .NET, never again to run on Linux or Solaris except via the (then deprecated) OpenJDK.

      • Re:Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SEE (7681) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:55PM (#27470223) Homepage

        What does Sun have that wouldn't fork if Microsoft bought them?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by 644bd346996 (1012333)

        There's no way Microsoft could buy a big competitor in this political climate. In case you hadn't noticed, there's a Democrat in the White House. Sun is the corporation behind the only viable competitors to .NET and MS Office, in addition to being a competitor in the server OS space and a provider of a consumer-oriented virtualization product. The only way Microsoft could benefit from buying Sun is the reduced competition, and that fact is too obvious to slip past the regulators.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by CajunArson (465943)

          Uhh... IBM & Sun are also competitors, don't let the fact that one of them isn't Microsoft fool you into thinking they aren't. In some ways, this merger would be MORE restrictive than if Sun merged with Microsoft (which would never happen BTW, MS has no interest). Think about it: MS isn't really a hardware company in any of the same places that Sun is (no the XBox doesn't count), while IBM with Power is directly competing with SPARC. An IBM merger would likely lead to SUN's software assets being dist

    • by carlzum (832868)
      I didn't like the idea of IBM purchasing Sun, there is too much overlap between the two companies. Like the summary says, IBM wanted to acquire their software and research and "consolidate" the market. That's business-speak for picking off the talent and products they need and discarding everything else. It's not a criticism of IBM, I wouldn't want any of Sun's direct competitor's buying them. Someone like HP or Cisco will be adding Sun's products and research, keeping the industry more competitive than it
  • Cisco Sun (Score:5, Interesting)

    by olddotter (638430) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @06:47PM (#27469675) Homepage
    I hate to think about it, but a Cisco Sun merger might make sense. At least at first glance.
    • Cisco is already using Linux in some Linkaya models, and has it's on NetOS running on it's high-end stuff. Why does it need Solaris or Java?

      • Re:Cisco Sun (Score:5, Interesting)

        by putaro (235078) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:02PM (#27469801) Journal

        Cisco's trying to become a server company. Sun has a lot of credibility in that market, some interesting hardware and, yes Virginia, Solaris is more stable than Linux.

        • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:23PM (#27469969) Homepage Journal

          Solaris is more stable than Linux.

          stable. n. resistant to change of position or condition.

          Indeed.

          • Re:Cisco Sun (Score:5, Insightful)

            by dkf (304284) <donal.k.fellows@manchester.ac.uk> on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:35PM (#27470055) Homepage

            Solaris is more stable than Linux.

            stable. n. resistant to change of position or condition.

            Indeed.

            Sometimes, stable is good. I prefer having my house built on stable ground, and I prefer standard libraries to have stable ABIs so I don't have to recompile everything every time a system upgrade blows through. OTOH, "stable" is sometimes a codeword for "sclerotic". I suppose ones view on stability depends on whether one has a direct interest in the stable thing or not.

          • Re:Cisco Sun (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:43PM (#27470099)

            Solaris is more stable than Linux.

            stable. n. resistant to change of position or condition.

            Indeed.

            Used and admin both. I've never seen a live-locked Solaris system; seen many times on Linux.

            • by Cyberax (705495)

              Just try to use ZFS then. Or NVidia drivers.

              I've seen a lot of lockups on Solaris. Also, performance of Solaris sucks in many areas compared to Linux.

        • Re:Cisco Sun (Score:5, Insightful)

          by segedunum (883035) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:26PM (#27470003)

          yes Virginia, Solaris is more stable than Linux.

          The same old sad refrain, right to the last breath. I have had countless Sun consultants for the best part of ten years telling me that Linux is unstable versus the 'rock solid' Solaris and that no one could ever run anything serious on a x86 system versus SPARC. When I challenge them for specifics they clam up tightly as if saying it should somehow be enough or they retreat by pointing to some exceptionally vague Sun 'studies', again, as if pointing to them is somehow sufficient. Your comment is the same amongst thousands and it's not helping.

          Alas, saying it doesn't make it true, and given Sun's current sad state it can't be all that important to people if it's actually true.

          • Re:Cisco Sun (Score:5, Informative)

            by ltmon (729486) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:42PM (#27470097)

            I use (and like) both Solaris and Linux.

            I think the "stable" moniker mainly comes from Solaris + Sun hardware, not Solaris as a standalone entity. Tight coupling to SPARC hardware (and Sun-made x86 to a lesser extent) means that Solaris has the ability to take portions of RAM offline if errors are detected, deactivate individual CPU cores or sockets if errors are detected and similar fault monitoring and recovery across the hardware. It's pretty cool stuff really, have a look at it if you get the chance.

            Solaris SMF also kicks the ageing init.d method for 6 as far as software fault monitoring and recovery goes IMO.

            Of course plenty of consultants have oversold this, deriding other good OSs at the same time, often without any knowledge to back it up.

            • by rubycodez (864176)

              if someone has the money to spend, similar features are supported by the Linux kernel on expensive hardware for several architectures.

          • Re:Cisco Sun (Score:4, Interesting)

            by russlar (1122455) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:52PM (#27470187)

            I have had countless Sun consultants for the best part of ten years telling me that Linux is unstable versus the 'rock solid' Solaris and that no one could ever run anything serious on a x86 system versus SPARC.

            Solaris on SPARC has device drivers in user-space. This lets you add SCSI devices to the server without rebooting.

            Need to add a new SCSI tape library to a Linux server? Sorry, need to reboot the server!

            Need to add a SCSI tape library on Solaris? No problem!
            1. Plug it in
            2. # add_drv st
            3. # add_drv ds
            4. # devfsadm -Cv
            5. 99.999% uptime!
            6. Profit!

            • by rubycodez (864176)

              big (data center/enterprise grade) Linux installations use fibre SAN, and adding a tape drive and rescanning can be done on-line, even with copper scsi if presented to fibre SAN via storage router.

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward

                big (data center/enterprise grade) Linux installations use fibre SAN, and adding a tape drive and rescanning can be done on-line, even with copper scsi if presented to fibre SAN via storage router.

                Funny, I just did a SAN cut-over this weekend, and I had to reboot the Linux systems involved so that they could see the new NetApp LUNs via the QLogic HBAs.

                Not sure about tape drives, but new LUNs seem to need a reboot from my experience. (And yes, I tried sending strange incantations to various /proc entries to re-scan the bus--no joy.)

                I like Linux on my work desktop, but like Solaris on my servers.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Bigbutt (65939)

                Doesn't seem to work for me. Every time I have to add a SAN drive to a Linux box (Red Hat), I have to reboot the system. There are a few suggestions on recognizing the drives while the system is live but none have worked so far. We're pretty much resigned to rebooting when adding a SAN drive.

                [John]

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by rubycodez (864176)

                  in another post you've mentioned your on 2.4 kernels, much has changed in later 2.6 kernels, with right hardware you can hotplug CPUs now and with right drivers plus hardware hotplug disk and tape even on copper scsi.

            • by whoever57 (658626)

              Need to add a new SCSI tape library to a Linux server? Sorry, need to reboot the server!

              A simple google search such as this one [google.com] would show you that a reboot is not necessary to get Linux to recognize a tape drive that is added to a SCSI bus. Please take your FUD elsewhere.

              • by rubycodez (864176)

                that doesn't work with all scsi device drivers though, with some you'll even see new (hot-plug) disk but not tape drives, while for example in HP land some cciss drivers do it and some don't for tape drive. But yes, if someone wants the feature and plans their hardware purchases and device drivers, can do many hot-plug tricks with all manner of devices.

            • by GuyverDH (232921)

              let's not forget the newer cfgadm command, and all it's possibilities...

              with the new ssd driver removing lun per target limits (at least raising them substantially), and allowing for usb, fibre, scsi, etc to be scanned, configured, updated, refreshed on the fly...

              Also, don't forget drvconfig and the ability to reload/refresh drivers in memory, while up and running...

          • by putaro (235078)

            Kernel internals don't get mucked with all the damn time. I don't do as much kernel work as I used to (and I've done it on 4.3 BSD, Unicos, IRIX, SunOS, Solaris, Linux, Mac OS X) but I hit it often enough with Linux. I was trying to get some slightly older Linux drivers to work but some genius had decided to rename all of the logging macros so that drivers that weren't being actively maintained had been broken.

          • Re:Cisco Sun (Score:5, Interesting)

            by GuyverDH (232921) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @08:54PM (#27470773)

            I've used probably more x86 based UNIX / UNIX like operating systems than many people out here.
            Let's face it, there's not a lot of folks who remember turning key switches to load CTIX over CTOS on a Burroughs XE-550. Yes, I know there are some who will remember this, and things even older...

            What I'm getting at, is that of all the operating systems I've used, based off of a plethora of chips, motorola, x86, powerpc, pa-risc, alpha, sparc, of them all, Solaris has been the most stable and reliable.

            I've seen Linux systems, using kickstart, loaded onto identically configured hardware, end up with different packages loaded, due to some driver quirk that made it not load during one bootup, and work fine on another. I've seen boxes that ran fine, while their identically configured system crapped out repeatedly.

            I've taken those same systems, and using a jumpstart server, loaded them with Solaris x86, and ended with identically configured, installed (down to the last package, configuration, etc) systems. All ran stable, fast and reliably.

            Try taking your own run at comparing an application written for the A.M.P. stack, and first run it as a LAMP stack, then run it as a SAMP stack. You'll find that the SAMP stack outperforms the LAMP stack, sometimes by almost 100% on the same hardware.

            Take a look at the security certifications, the revamped TCP/IP stack able to process millions (possibly billions) of messages per second (depending on the hardware it's configured to run on).

            Take a look at the proprietary hardware, including CMT technologies, or the new ROCK processor due out this fall.

            For a company that has been so solid in the operating system arena, to also be leading the pack in some of the hardware innovations is simply amazing.

            Anyway, as I said, I've used most of the available UNIX/UNIX like operating systems, and find Solaris to be the best of breed for most, if not all, applications. That's my personal 24 years of experience talking, not just empty marketing words...

      • Re:Cisco Sun (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ltmon (729486) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:02PM (#27469803)

        Same reason they've started building it's own servers - they want to expand into new markets.

        Sun would sure give them a leg-up, as the two product portfolios have very little crossover, but it remains to be seen if Cisco would be any better at selling Sun technology than Sun has been of late.

        As a Sun partner/reseller I'd probably prefer Cisco however, because it's less likely that the cool stuff that Sun makes, which I know and sell, would be just be swallowed up never to be seen again as would likely happen in an IBM deal.

    • Re:Cisco Sun (Score:5, Insightful)

      by segfaultcoredump (226031) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:08PM (#27469851)

      Cisco + Sun would make more sense. Mostly because there is very little overlap in their actual products but their two lines constantly need to work together. (Our sun servers are connected to Cisco ethernet switches, our SunRays vpn into Cisco vpn concentrators, our Sun Storage is connected to Cisco MDS switches, etc). It would also give Cisco the biggest, baddest InfiniBand switch on the market (and at 110Tbps, its switching capacity totally trashes anything cisco has ever produced).

      The biggest problem with the Sun+IBM deal was that there was so much overlap, customers would be left to wonder which product lines would get discontinued. (glassfish vs websphere, solaris vs aix, sparc vs power, sun's servers vs ibm's, storage, tape, etc, etc, etc. )

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday April 05, 2009 @06:47PM (#27469681)

    Sun seems to want to hold on for a better bid than IBM's $7 billion, but there's seems to be a hard time justifying much higher of a markup beyond the $6.3 billion it has in market cap. Who wants to bid more?

    • Well, someone who views Java or Solaris is the future. Sun also has a rather large stake in Blu-Ray, something that some companies might want to try to get as it won the format war.
      • by Bandman (86149)

        What is Sun's stake in bluray?

      • It won the format battle. How's the war against the DVD Empire going?

        Anyway, I have a hard time seeing a company value the language or the operating system (who isn't Microsoft or Apple) to the tune of 7 (or 6.3) billion. I think that IBM would have been the best bet because Sun is very diversified, in addition to the language and the OS, it also builds and sells servers using processors that it owns a major stake in. Sun is a soup to nuts type company. It designs and builds the chips, the hardware, the OS
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SEE (7681)

          Red Hat buying Sun would be the exact same mistake as Caldera buying SCO.

          • Sort of, but completely not in that SCO offered operating systems but not hardware, servers or just about anything that Sun offers. Caldera and SCO were OS vendors, Sun is more of a hardware company that also happens to sell an OS that it puts on its boxes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Wireless Joe (604314)
      Sun: What a bunch of Yahoo!s.
  • by LaughingCoder (914424) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @06:49PM (#27469695)
    I saw this a few years ago and it made me true to my moniker: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r19080808-Ars-technica-on-Sun-strategy-over-the-years [dslreports.com]. Looks like we have an edit to make to this spot-on, funny-but-sad pie chart.
  • Apple Should Buy Sun (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Helmholtz (2715) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @06:57PM (#27469759) Homepage

    If Apple bought Sun, then they would be a very interesting Server-Desktop combo.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:03PM (#27469809)
      But I don't think Apple really wants Sun. Sun seems to be everything Apple isn't. Sun has a lot of corporate customers, not something that Apple really caters to. Java would be a nice acquisition by Apple, but I just can't see them wanting Java for iPhone applications, something that would seem natural if they acquired Sun.

      I just think that Sun seems to be everything that Apple has opposed, and acquiring it doesn't seem to make sense. On the other hand, (assuming various regulatory bodies would approve it), MS merging with Sun, or Cisco buying Sun seems to work better.
      • by Raffaello (230287) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:52PM (#27470177)

        Java is poison to Apple. Apple's whole business model is one of OS differentiation. Java promises OS homogenization. Apple has done everything it can to damn Java with faint praise, ensuring its second class status on Mac OS, and complete absence from the iPhone OS.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          No, Java is not poison to Apple. Apple went so far as to elevate Java to a primary development environment and strongly hint to its development community that Java would ultimately replace Objective C. Unfortunately for Java advocates, Java didn't mature fast enough, and eventually Java was dropped from the list of first tier GUI languages. It had been unsuitable for the task for so long that eventually it became irrelevant. At the same time, you see the rise of Python, which looks poised to become a fi
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by smcdow (114828)

            Is Python any less about homogenization than Java?

            At least with Python, you get built-in hooks to OS facilities. That's the thing I've never understood about Java's popularity. What's the point of writing software if you can't make direct OS system calls? It's certainly a lot less fun.

        • by speedtux (1307149) on Monday April 06, 2009 @12:11AM (#27472121)

          Java promises OS homogenization.

          I think Apple can breathe easy: it's promised that for more than a decade and always failed to deliver.

      • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @08:08PM (#27470347)

        On the other hand, (assuming various regulatory bodies would approve it), MS merging with Sun, or Cisco buying Sun seems to work better.

        Other than it being an excellent opportunity to kill off a Unix vendor, why would MS merge with Sun? Never mind the consequences an MS take-over of Sun would presumably have for Java. Sun being swallowed up by Hewlett-Packard doesn't sound all that good either. Cisco buying Sun has a better ring to it, at least at first glance. I'll take continued diversity on the OS market over consolidation any day.

      • Pesonally, I always thought that OS X on top of the Solaris kernel would kick some serious ass. Far cleaner and more multi-core performant than the Frankenstein kernel they've got now.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      Apple's not really much better than IBM, for a lot of the same reasons (expensive, restrictive, closed). They're also similar in that a big part of their business is selling based on their name, not their products, although Apple is _much_ better in that regard than IBM. Apple however, doesn't buy competing, superior products and drive them in into the ground.

      I'm still hoping for a Cisco buyout.
    • Someone posted this the other day and at first it made a little sense. Afterall, Apple doesn't really have an enterprise market presences and Sun doesn't have much in the desktop arena. Not much of the two companies would overlap in terms of canabalizing products. IBM already has a RISC server line as well as a java app server as well as a damn good database system, even if it has a price tag.

      But Apple is getting away from being a computer company and getting more into being a consumer electronics and me

    • There were rumors of a similar acquisition but the other way around -- Sun was looking at buying Apple [nytimes.com] -- a decade ago. This was 'round the time McNealy had said something like "Apple's best hope is to become the world's best Java thin client manufacturer."

      How do you like them Apples [slashdot.org], Scott? :)

      An Apple-Sun merger really doesn't make a lot of sense. They do really different things. Schwartz's time in the NeXTStep development world, though, makes me think it's not completely impossible...

    • If Apple bought Sun, then they would be a very interesting Server-Desktop combo.

      That's curious. I've often heard Steve Jobs called an ass, but never a dummy.

      C//

  • Stupidity. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by XPeter (1429763) *
    Sun has now made my list of the stupidest companies on the planet. This is the same stupidity that happened when Yahoo rejected Googles buyout offer. Message to CEO's: When you have someone offering you much more then your companies worth...you take it run and never look back. Especially with the bad economy.
    • Re:Stupidity. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:03PM (#27469805) Homepage Journal

      Uh huh. If you're an executive in a company and the suitor making the offer won't agree to a golden parachute then it doesn't matter to you how much they are offering per share.

      • Re:Stupidity. (Score:5, Informative)

        by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @08:29PM (#27470569) Homepage

        If you're an executive in a company and the suitor making the offer won't agree to a golden parachute then it doesn't matter to you how much they are offering per share.

        According to the article, IBM wasn't refusing to offer them a golden parachute. What it says is that various people at Sun already had contracts with Sun guaranteeing them golden parachutes in the event of a buyout. When IBM worked up all the figures, they realized that the golden parachutes were going to cost more than they'd thought, so they reduced their offer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mysidia (191772)

      They think their company is worth a lot more than what the stock market says their shares are worth and a lot more than IBM is willing to pay, and they may very well be right.

      Sun owns and is developing a lot of things that have a whole lot of worth and a whole lot of future potential.

      If they don't think it's enough, and they won't succeed on their own and generate all that value for their investors, then yes, it makes sense to sell.

      If the proceeds from the sale really offset the anticipated worth and

    • So just because the stock market crashed, every CEO should accept to sell their company for a fraction of their market cap before the crash ? Riiight.
      • by Raffaello (230287)

        Every CEO whose company is circling the drain should. Such companies are rather unlikely to regain their pre-crash market cap.

        • Then it's a good thing Sun keeps coming up with new ideas, so that they aren't circling the drain.

          The old McNealy strategy of 1980's UNIX vendors failed and that's why Sun's in the state that it is, but taking on NetApp and EMC with the storage strategy ( storage 7000 boxes ) is brilliant
  • Hahah... (Score:5, Funny)

    by cffrost (885375) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @07:20PM (#27469939) Homepage
    Classic April Fools, IBM!
  • N.Y.T.: Most. Stodgy. Grammatical. Style.

  • Bloomberg link (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Amigori (177092) <eefranklin718&yahoo,com> on Sunday April 05, 2009 @08:43PM (#27470699) Homepage

    Here [bloomberg.com] is a link to the Bloomberg news article. No registration or subscription required.

  • by Smackintosh (1009941) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @09:42PM (#27471139)
    If true.

    And I say that for three very important reasons:

    a) IBM was sure to 'consolidate' a great number of things. And I'm sure any remnants of Sun left after this process would have been IBM-ized. And I do say that with a great deal of negative connotation. IBM has a habit of having some great tech, but in many cases doing very dumb things to it to make it annoying to work with. (Exhibit #1 = AIX boxen)

    b) Our choices for 'iron' and 'OS' variety in the IT space would have been reduced as I'm sure overalpping server lines would disappear, as well as perhaps an OS (AIX vs. Solaris). Some variety in the I.T. space is most definitely to our advantage as I.T. folks. Of course, pricing competition between rivals is always a good thing, too.

    c) Lastly, the most important thing, is that we'd have lost one of the most innovative enterprise I.T. companies ever. Say what you will about their ability to turn it into large $$$, but Sun has come up with some of the most innovative ideas the server-related I.T industry has seen since their inception....and they continue to do so. I think many people lose sight of this as they like to whine about Sun simply because they're a big corporation.
  • hostile takeover? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Johnny Mnemonic (176043) <mdinsmore AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday April 05, 2009 @10:21PM (#27471477) Homepage Journal

    What are the chances that IBM will try a hostile takeover instead?

    Are rher more things to consider to that than the likelihood that they could get 51% of Sun shareholders to be willing to accept a near 100% mark up from pre-purchase rumor price?

    Cause if that's all that it takes, in this market I think it would be easy to find that many people willing to take the money and run. And not even that many, since in my understanding IBM could already have secured 5%.

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Sunday April 05, 2009 @11:43PM (#27471989) Journal
    I shit you not.

    Today IBM announced that it would no longer be supplying Tea or Coffee to their office workforce.

    This is a true story, don't laugh, it's not funny.

  • Name Merge (Score:5, Funny)

    by Johnny Mnemonic (176043) <mdinsmore AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 06, 2009 @01:21AM (#27472503) Homepage Journal
    Should IBM wind up buying SUN after all, I think the name of the company should be Blue Sun.
  • by melted (227442) on Monday April 06, 2009 @02:21AM (#27472829) Homepage

    I only hope that someone company with good management buys them out. There are very few of those, but they do exist.

    Sun could have OWNED the entire server side, the way Microsoft owns the desktop, if only they played their Java deck of cards as well as Microsoft is playing .NET. Young uns don't remember it now, but there was a time when Microsoft was scared shitless of Java, and rightfully so. You install a runtime and the OS sorta doesn't matter anymore - that goes to the core of their entire strategy and rips it apart.

    The problem was (and is) that Sun's software strategy was sorta like a chicken running with its head cut off - it went from the web to embedded to desktop to servers and everywhere in between without getting particularly good at anything (at least not thanks to Sun's efforts - community saved their server story, but that's about it).

    What they should have done is they should have absolutely nailed desktop and server, and done so in late 90's before their cash cow hardware and support business started drying up.

    McNealy is single handedly responsible for Sun's demise. Instead of building Java platform into a formidable weapon that would let them take over the world pretty much, he spent much of the late 90's trying to screw with Microsoft, when it wasn't even seriously in the enterprise server business - Sun's core market.

    There was NOTHING Microsoft could do to stave off Java except for two things:
    1. Brain dead reliance on bytecode interpreter in early Java VMs (compare that to unconditional JIT on first call in .NET).
    2. McNealy's preoccupation with secondary issues, like keeping Java pure on MS platform. What he should have been thinking of is how to make it BETTER than MS implementation. Microsoft VM blew the doors off Sun's own at the time, its UI controls looked native (they WERE native), it had much faster startup time. The situation with lack of portability would have rectified itself had Sun's stack been superior to Microsoft's - people would just develop for Sun's version and ship a JRE on CDs, no big deal.

    The only thing I want from them (or whoever buys them in the end) at this point is release ZFS under GPL. It's seriously difficult to get me excited with anything computer related these days, and ZFS is one of those things I want really bad on my Linux boxes (I know there's FUSE version, but I want production quality code).

    After they do that, they can just fold up the tent and go out of business. I wouldn't care.

  • by transiit (33489) on Monday April 06, 2009 @05:07AM (#27473687) Homepage Journal

    It struck me when I read this article at MSNBC [msn.com]

    The stock price doubled since the initial rumors? Really...so who stands to benefit from this? Are Sun and IBM execs pals enough to hint at talks (without committing to any deal)

    Understanding that IBM has invested quite a bit in java, I can see how they'd like to acquire Sun. However, it's a bit odd that they'd offer a significant premium (unconfirmed) and then bail on the possibility of another company getting to bid. Yeah, I can see how they'd not want to get into a bidding war over this, but I would've thought they'd retracted their offer as soon as a hint of the possibility of acquisition became news/gossip without something legally binding in place. This is IBM, they aren't known for bold initiatives, after all.

    Something about this sounds off, regardless of the rest of this article's speculation on who would be a better Sun benefactor.

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Monday April 06, 2009 @08:24AM (#27474941) Homepage Journal

    Now, Sun is free to pursue other suitors, including I.B.M. rivals like Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems

    Not HP! Anyone but HP!

    Remember when Compaq acquired DEC? They quickly went out to all of DEC's unix customers and told them "Good news! We're migrating you to Windows!" A few made the switch, but most of them replied "Fuck you. If you're killing off your own unix business then we're moving to Sun." And most of them did.

    Compaq and HP are now merged, and the once-great DEC unix business has all but been dissolved. Is that the fate which awaits Sun if they are acquired by HP? HP is firmly under the control of Microsoft. The day after the merger, they would receive their marching orders from Redmond: quietly suffocate Java and OpenOffice.

    Java is currently the lingua franca of business logic, and whether you like it or not, it's a key enabler for Linux's success in the enterprise. Without Java, the data center would slowly be taken over by .NET running on Windows. And although Linux has finally started to gain some traction on the desktop, that too would come to a halt without OpenOffice.

    Cisco is a slightly better bet, but I'm not sure they'd really know what to do with Sun. Cisco is fabulous at merging networking companies, but when they buy other types of companies (such as WebEx or the people who built Openchange) they really don't seem to know what to do with them. IBM would have been a good merger. Now I'm worried.

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