Monday, April 6, 2009

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

The New York Times says:
"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."

Remarkable comments on this story from Slashdot include:

by segfaultcoredump (226031) on Sunday April 05, @08:08PM (#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 Smackintosh (1009941) on Sunday April 05, @10:42PM (#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.

by melted (227442) on Monday April 06, @03:21AM (#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.

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