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Sun Microsystems IBM

Sun In Talks To Be Acquired By IBM 526

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the there-can-be-only-one dept.
gandhi_2 writes "Sun Microsystems soared in European trading after a report that it was in talks to be acquired by IBM. The Wall Street Journal, quoting "people familiar with the matter," reported Wednesday that International Business Machines was in talks to buy the company for at least $6.5 billion in cash, a premium of more than 100 percent over the company's closing share price Tuesday. Officials of Sun and IBM could not immediately be reached for comment."
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Sun In Talks To Be Acquired By IBM

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  • For $6.5b (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sanosuke001 (640243) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @07:54AM (#27239723)
    I'd sell in a heartbeat. In this economy, there's no guarantee anything will go well for a specific company. 100% markup on their stock? Even if they do make it through this downturn, no guarantee their stock will hit that level again anytime soon.

    Now, if only the US gov't will allow it. IBM+Sun would be a huge company.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Forge (2456)
      Huge but nowhere near a monopoly.

      In smaller territories (Like Jamaica) it's a different matter. Here we have 3 major Enterprise service Companies. One deals mainly in Sun and Dell gear (Fujitsu), Another deals mainly in HP and DELL (MCS) and the 3rd is IBM.

      What this buyout would mean is that Fujitsu would no longer have an Enterprise Unix offering and customers who like them (like my current employer) would be screwed.

      The really crappy thing is that I don't know anyone who uses SUN gear because of
    • Re:For $6.5b (Score:5, Informative)

      by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101 ... Nom minus author> on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:11AM (#27239905) Homepage Journal

      Now, if only the US gov't will allow it. IBM+Sun would be a huge company.

      IBM + SUN would be a huge company, but only slightly larger than IBM.

      IBM: Around 400,000 employees. Sun: 33,000 employees.

      IBM: $104 billion in revenue. Sun: $14 billion.

      IBM: $125 billion market cap. Sun: $3.7 billion

      • by fm6 (162816)

        IBM: 36% server market share
        Sun: 8% server market share

        It's not about gross size, it's about competition.

        • Re:For $6.5b (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Pharmboy (216950) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @11:56AM (#27243547) Journal

          44% of the server market is surely nothing to sneeze at, but my guess is that IBM still has dreams of getting on the corporate desktop (which is the gateway to the home desktop) and Java, Solaris, Open Office/Star Office, plus all their contributions to Free software is part of the ticket to compete with Microsoft in the next decade. This is particularly true if you believe that the OS will become less important as more applications are created as web applications, making it not matter if the OS is OS X, Win7+, Linux, Solaris or some "new" Java desktop.

          • Re:For $6.5b (Score:5, Insightful)

            by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @12:26PM (#27244039) Homepage Journal

            There are many technologies at Sun that IBM might covet, but no one of them is worth that much money, or even a substantial part of them. They'll certainly want Java, but Java is mainly a server-side technology these days. It's client side tech is floundering, both marketwise and developmentwise. Same goes for Solaris. (Sun's workstation lineup is down to one system [sun.com]!) As for OO/SO, IBM already has a free office suite, and it's not doing any better.

            Having a realistic alternative to Windows is every geek's dream, but I don't see anything that Sun owns really changing the game. And big companies like IBM don't really have any incentive to revolutionize the desktop — not that much money in it, and there are too many risks. Which is why IBM has moved away from desktop computing in recent years.

            • Re:For $6.5b (Score:5, Insightful)

              by curunir (98273) * on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @04:49PM (#27248277) Homepage Journal

              Java is mainly a server-side technology these days. It's client side tech is floundering, both marketwise and developmentwise.

              This is a situation that could change if Sun were acquired. Sun has been pushing developers to use Swing on the client side and, while Swing may be popular with developers, users don't like it because of performance and the non-native feel. But IBM would likely push developers to use SWT instead. It's being used in a surprisingly large number of applications. That most people don't realize it's being used is a testament to both it's performance and it's ability to appear native (because most of the widgets are native with a Java API). SWT gets a bad rap because its poster-child application (Eclipse) can be a resource hog and run slowly in many situations, but from my experience that's not a failing of SWT and more a reflection of the complexity involved in writing and IDE and the design decision to make the IDE so heavily extensible by third parties. If IBM did acquire Sun, I would bet that one of the first changes made to Java would be to include SWT and JFace with the 1.8 JRE.

              Java's failings on the client side are, IMHO, a reflection of the lack of ubiquity of SWT and Sun's NIH syndrome when it comes to Java technologies produced outside of Sun's control. Those two barriers can be broken down if IBM acquires Sun.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by fm6 (162816)

                But IBM would likely push developers to use SWT instead.

                IBM is already pushing developers to use SWT. And I think IBM already has more influence with Java developers than Sun. (Compare the relative popularity of their toolsets.) Hasn't had much effect.

                It's going to take a lot more than an improved widget library to get Java going as a desktop app platform. Face it, we can't run 1998 over again.

            • Re:For $6.5b (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @05:52PM (#27249073)

              Solaris and Linux are hopeless as far as providing a windows alternative. As far as a realistic alternative to Windows, Linux wouldnt know how to do it if it hit them in the head. For Linux to really be a viable Windows alternative it is vital that it makes it easy for binary only drivers and apps to be made for Linux and to provide stable driver ABIs. Linux has to stop being so arrogant in assuming everything they use will come with a distro, and realise that real users will want to use third party software and drivers. They also have to assume that a user may want to choose between using different drivers and will need to be easily be able to choose a manufacturer supplied driver. basically the user has to be able to throw in a disc, click install and have the hardware or software work. Gnome meanwhile have entirely the wrong idea about what makes software useable. I dont know where they got the idea that making software rigid, inflexible and feature sparse makes it more useable, but it doesnt. Gnome is an inflexible memory hogging disaster that has only gotten worse. The idea of good design is to make software configurable and flexible as possible, but place lesser used features in advanced screens. useability is all in layout, not in number of features. Software should work out of the box with reasonable defaults with no configuration but user should be able to fine tune them if they wish. This allows users as little or as much control as they need and allows them to grow into the software.

          • Re:For $6.5b (Score:4, Interesting)

            by liquidpele (663430) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @01:29PM (#27244995) Journal

            but my guess is that IBM still has dreams of getting on the corporate desktop (which is the gateway to the home desktop)

            Quite the opposite. IBM has been shifting away from everything consumer for years (selling Lenovo, etc). They're moving to only enterprise level hardware, business services/consulting, and lastly research and development.

            My big question is since IBM loves Eclipse, what will happen to netbeans??

      • Re:For $6.5b (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Cheeko (165493) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @10:38AM (#27242239) Homepage Journal

        And HP's market cap is slightly larger than IBM's.

        In terms of the competitive Landscape its really HP and IBM with Dell a distant third.

        While Sun has decent market share it's been dwindling for years. Obviously there are some things to be reviewed in terms of competition, but I doubt it would hold this deal up. Fairly similar in terms of size/scope to the HP-Compaq merger.

        To me this seems like a move to buy Sun's market share, pick up stuff like Java, and be able to strip some tech out of Solaris. I would expect that most of Sun's hardware arch would eventually be phased out, maybe port Solaris to Power if anything. Kinda see Sparc going the way of Alpha if a merger goes through.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        IBM: Around 400,000 employees. Sun: 33,000 employees.

        How come I have this sneaky feeling, that after the merger is complete, IBM will have less than 400,000 + 33,000 employess?

    • Re:For $6.5b (Score:4, Informative)

      by Peter Cooper (660482) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:21AM (#27240005) Homepage Journal

      IBM is already a huge company. Market cap of $124bn. Sun won't make a dent. Market cap of less than $4bn. Yep, Sun is only 3% the size of IBM - it'd be like a dog eating a fly.

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      I feel the same way. Remember when Microsoft offer some dumb yahoos a bunch of money last year, only to decline it hoping for a better offer? Now MS won't touch that company, whose name I forgot for a moment.

      Sun always seemed to be a Company that had its high noon around the early 90s to the 2000 bubble in terms of place in the IT world.

    • Re:For $6.5b (Score:5, Informative)

      by necro81 (917438) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:33AM (#27240171) Journal
      Perhaps, but I think that IBM would be getting one hell of a sweet deal

      Although it is a 100% markup from Tuesday's closing price, that's still only a share price of $9 or $10. Barring the insanity of the dotcom bubble, when Sun was selling at $100-$200, it has been in the range of $12-$20 for the last 15 years. Between the dotcom bust and the global economic clusterf%#k, it had been solidly above $15 [google.com]. So, the way I see it, IBM is able to pick up a good company with solid products, a good long-term strategy, and an enormous IP portfolio for a 30%-40% discount.
      • Re:For $6.5b (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Znork (31774) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:48AM (#27240417)

        IBM is able to pick up a good company with solid products

        Are there any specific products that Sun sells that IBM doesn't have equivalents of? Sun has some good products, but I'm not sure IBM is after any specific products rather than just buying customers in certain segments and getting rid of some competition as a bonus at a fairly good price.

        a good long-term strategy

        Sun has a long-term strategy? Not one that's the long-term strategy of the month, but something, eh, more long-term? Having worked with Sun stuff for more than a decade, that's one of the more irritating habits the company has; sudden changes in strategy, often accompanied with a total re-branding of large parts of their product series.

        • Re:For $6.5b (Score:4, Insightful)

          by SnapShot (171582) * on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @09:15AM (#27240779)

          Are there any specific products that Sun sells that IBM doesn't have equivalents of?

          Java?

          I realize that this isn't a product, per se, but it seems to me that IBM has focused their company on the services and consulting side and many of those projects are Java-based. They'll be able to go to their clients and affirm that the next multi-billion dollar enterprise project will be built on "their" language that they are fully behind.

          P.S. Can we please not start a Java teh sux thread! I'm mostly just curious what the value of being the "owner of Java" is to a company...

          • Java (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @11:40AM (#27243315) Homepage Journal
            IBM figured out how to make money from Java, which is something Sun still hasn't done. IBM in this merger could be perceived as attempting to prevent their huge investment in Java from going down the tubes, in the not-unlikely event of a catastrophic Sun failure, or as preventing acquisition of Sun's Java team by a competitor.
        • Re:For $6.5b (Score:5, Interesting)

          by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @09:20AM (#27240871) Homepage Journal

          "Are there any specific products that Sun sells that IBM doesn't have equivalents of? Sun has some good products"
          Yes OpenOffice and Java.
          Too bad IBM didn't buy Troll Tech as well.
          I think IBM still has so anger issues with Microsoft. I could see them really pushing for a Microsoft free stack from top to bottom even if it was FOSS. IBM makes a lot of money from services. A free stack just means more services to sell.
          I wonder if they will buy Opera next.
          Imagine Solaris, KDE, Openoffice, and Opera all rolled into a nice Free distro :)

          • Re:For $6.5b (Score:4, Informative)

            by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @09:40AM (#27241211) Journal
            IBM does have equivalents of OpenOffice and Java. Their OpenOffice equivalent is called Lotus Symphony and is based on the OpenOffice codebase. Their equivalent of Java is called Java and uses exactly the same codebase as Sun Java.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              Er... IBM did once have a competing JVM implementation. You can still download it. http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?sitestyle=lenovo&lndocid=MIGR-56888 [ibm.com]
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by LDoggg_ (659725)
                IBM still has a competing JVM, though it is only at the 1.5 spec. It is what webshpere 6.1 runs on.
            • Re:For $6.5b (Score:5, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @11:57AM (#27243565)

              Other comments in this thread are incorrect. Here is the truth:

              -- IBM still develops their JVM.
              -- The IBM JVM is currently at the 1.6 level (which you can find in WebSphere 6.2 products). Same spec level as the latest recommended version of the Sun JVM.
              -- IBM also develops their own implementation of the Java class libraries.
              -- Writing a fast JVM is not "a few months work". It took both Sun and IBM years of development to produce JVMs with reasonable performance. You can argue that the research supporting them (and around VMs in general) is now fairly well-known, but implementing it is still nontrivial.

              Thank you. Feel free to mod this up now, since I am apparently the only one who's gotten this correct.

          • by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @12:01PM (#27243613) Homepage Journal
            It seems to be "common geek knowledge" that IBM has this unified corporate animosity to Microsoft -- often blamed on fallout from their split during the OS/2, Windows NT days. This is a seriously naive impression of IBM. It's a giant corporation with entire business units (some probably bigger than Sun) which make enormous sums of money by introducing complexity into the customer environment, and up-selling integration services to "manage" that complexity.

            IBM LOVES LOVES LOVES the fact that Windows is a font of unnecessary complexity.

            IBM exists as a giant IT behemoth today, precisely because Windows sucks, and they know it. They will do nothing to jeopardize the Windows cash cow.

            Even back in that brief window of time when OS/2 could be perceived as a viable alternative, IBM was busily rolling out their internal Windows-based desktop systems infrastructure, in most cases replacing an X-Term infrastructure. OS/2 never even had a chance in the real world, even though it had strong proponents for many years, they were all outside of IBM. Inside of IBM, OS/2 was relegated to a POS terminal system, then trimmed back to an ATM system when the POS systems went Windows.

            As recently as a few years ago, when IBM senior managers were betting big on Linux, and bragging publicly about investing a billion dollars a year (and probably more these days) on Linux, IBM customers couldn't even get IBM to submit proposals based on Linux for simple tasks for which Linux was very well suited. IBM instead proposed convoluted, unstable Windows-based "solutions" which cost more. Customers could BEG IBM for Linux based solutions and not get them. IBM actively fought against efforts at their customers to actually use Linux.
            • by gtall (79522) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @12:18PM (#27243911)

              "IBM exists as a giant IT behemoth today, precisely because Windows sucks, and they know it. "

              I don't think so, IBM makes mainframes and has a very large services effort, neither of which compete with MS. If there were no MS, IBM would still continue to exist.

              IBM might decide that MS cannot be left alone because MS is always on a continual jihad to bork everyone else, including IBM. So mere self-preservation would make IBM think of ways to compete against MS...not so much to beat MS but to keep them busy enough MS won't have what it takes to bork IBM.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by davecb (6526) *

          Are there any specific products that Sun sells that IBM doesn't have equivalents of?

          Sure, seriously multi-threaded chips, something I'm surprised IBM hasn't already adopted: after all, they have the same mismatch between sloth-like memory and fast CPUs.

          --dave

      • Re:For $6.5b (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jipn4 (1367823) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @01:09PM (#27244645)

        Perhaps, but I think that IBM would be getting one hell of a sweet deal

        I don't think so. Sun's core server and OS business is in deep trouble, and Java is under threat as well.

  • Container? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MortenMW (968289) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @07:56AM (#27239741)
    So, can I finally get a 20' container with IBM servers in it?
  • First Thoughts ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @07:57AM (#27239761)

    are that this is probably the best that Sun can do but I have to say that the reduction in competition in that space would be concerning.

    I've been wondering for a while what Sun was going to do, let's be brutally frank, they were never going to get rich from Java or MySQL, especially as open source, but had little choice in keeping them closed source. I just hope IBM keeps Java, Open Office and the rest as they are and doesn't start to try to make money off them.

    • ibm is selling open office under lotus symphony. IBM also have their own java and j2ee stack so they are making money off java.

    • by Mark Round (211258) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:34AM (#27240181) Homepage

      "I just hope IBM keeps Java, Open Office and the rest as they are and doesn't start to try to make money off them.".

      While this is a valid concern (remember, Sun is by far the largest open source contributor out there), that'd be the least of my concerns. I'd be more worried if some software or hardware would even be continued.

      I can't see a merged company running duplicate lines of hardware OR software, and whichever way it goes, people are going to be pissed. Just look at the HP/Compaq train wreck, and that was relatively mild in comparison (Tru64/HP-UX etc.). With Sun and IBM, they've got to choose between either a massive duplication of effort, or pick one of Solaris/AIX, MySQL/DB2, SPARC/POWER, Galaxy/iSeries, Storagetek (including the ZFS-based products like Thumper/Amber Road)/IBM storage, Websphere/Glassfish, Netbeans/Eclipse - the list goes on.

      Both companies produce such an enormously varied range of hardware and software, I just don't see it working without some serious cuts and massively pissed off customers. Those Tru64 customers didn't all just take it on the chin and migrate over to HP-UX like the good customers they were supposed to be, for instance. If you were working in a x64 Solaris shop, and got told that your migration path was to AIX on POWER, would you move ? Or would you take your business elsewhere ?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mysticgoat (582871)

        It seems to me that MySQL and DB2 are very different products that serve different markets. I would expect IBM to continue both. Possibly move MySQL back toward its "RDBMS Lite" roots, where it is often a good choice when the full power of DB2 is just going to get in the way.

        I don't know enough about the other product pairings to comment on them, but perhaps some of the others would dovetail in a similar fashion?

      • by John Bayko (632961) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @10:06AM (#27241713)

        IBM has a long history of not only tolerating, but actively developing and promoting non-mainstream products. They still develop several operating systems (z/OS - from mainframe System/360 days, i5/OS - from AS/400, and System 38 and System 36 before that, AIX), and support others (Windows, Linux, Solaris), all to give customers no excuse for switching to a competitor. They support x86 servers, POWER based System p and System i (recently unified), mainframe System z. As well as blade versions of some.

        This is in sharp contrast to HP, which gleefully killed off good products (and customer satisfaction) for feeble marketing reasons (like a market strategist would even know the difference between an Alpha and Itanium).

        So there's a good chance that IBM would keep alive a lot of Sun hardware and software, only consolidating as needed. For example, System/36 and System/38 were merged into AS/400 smoothly enough to keep both sets of customers happy. And OS/2 was kept on life support for years just for those customers who had comitted to it, even if there was no new development for it. Maybe AIX and Solaris could be merged (AIX has a lot of partitioning magic and reliability tricks useful for IBM hardware that could be added to Solaris), the two companies' Java versions would do well with just one, and so on. But I doubt that Sun products would be wholesale slaughtered by IBM like some other companies might.

      • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @10:56AM (#27242585) Homepage Journal

        IBM's version of the OpenOffice.org suite (Symphony) is horrible, though. If they get their hands on Openoffice.org I hope someone else (Novell) builds up a community for their fork of the suite and everyone in the project switches to the fork.

        That's not to say that Openoffice.org can't use some TLC - a lot of the legacy code is really, really crappy and disorganized (which discourages many from getting involved) but I do like the direction OpenOffice is going now. Under IBM, it could turn real ugly real fast if Symphony is any indication.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Moken (780202)
        You're right about the competing product lines and there are a lot of questions raised by it. However, I don't think it's Solaris/AIX, it's Solaris/Linux ... AIX is still alive and kicking, but inside IBM there is a lot of movement and development on Linux. AIX is receiving incremental updates for newer POWER machines, but nothing new. For example, there isn't an AIX port for the Cell architecture, but running Linux on Cell was a given from day one.

        That said, I don't think there's a question of which OS w
  • What would happen to Solaris, GlassFish, NetBeans, etc?

    The NetBeans/GlassFish combo is a killer combination for developing Java EE/J2EE applications. I would hate to see those two products disappear, since they compete directly with Eclipse and Websphere from IBM.

    • I don't recall seeing IBM ever swallow a company this big, so I'll look at DEC and Compaq for comparison. Lots of DEC gear was incorporated into the Compaq line over time. Stuff that eventually went away like the Alpha (poor soul, we hardly knew ye ...) took years. Even when HP acquired Compaq, old remnants of DEC were floating around, like Tru64 UNIX, even though there was stuff that competed with it.

      My guess is that IF this sale happens, IBM will keep the status quo for several years as they graduall
    • by kestasjk (933987) *
      NetBeans and Eclipse are practically the same thing, I'm sure they'll either merge them or keep them going separately but sharing code.
  • Hardware (Score:5, Interesting)

    by millwall (622730) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:00AM (#27239793)
    Interesting move as I thought IBMs long term strategy was to move away from the hardware market altogether. I wonder what their intentions are with Suns hardware divisions.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Zachium (907885)
      There's still the AIX and mainframes we produce. I don't remember if we produce the hardware itself, but I do know we do the software part of it. Maybe it'll be to produce better hardware? It'll be interesting to see what happens when/if it happens
    • Re:Hardware (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:37AM (#27240229) Journal
      IBM aren't moving away from hardware. IBM are moving away from commodity markets. Most hardware is now a commodity market (look what nVidia did to SGI) but not all, especially not in the mainframe area or the high-end SAN and supercomputing markets. IBM are also no longer in the commodity software market (they were never very good at it).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:01AM (#27239801)

    ...together at last!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by afidel (530433)
      Haven't seen the Notes 8 client have you? Yeah it's built on the Eclipse framework so Notes and Java are already quite friendly.
  • He's been unable to stop Sun's decline since he got the job, but if he can sell the carcass for double its current market cap, he's a far better salesman than I've given him credit for.

    -jcr

    • by Alomex (148003) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:30AM (#27240129) Homepage

      To be fair, the decline of the Unix server market started about 12 years ago with the release of NT4.0 and the first true industrial grade linux servers. One by one all the big unix manufactures have fallen (apollo, sgi, ncd, dec, hp, aix) and now sun.

      It is not clear if anyone could have arrested Sun's decline, short of acquiring Dell eight years ago...

      • The decline of the overpriced server market started with the availability of cheap commodity (desktop) hardware being used for server-grade systems. People don't always need 100% uptime (as Windows is a great example that people don't even think about it) and they aren't willing to pay extra to squeeze every ounce of performance and reliability out of those machines. Those people are willing to live with a few hours per month of downtime or they just invest in a failover server. The Sun's (as well as SGI and DEC machines) are very 'expensive' but they won't fail as fast nor will the failure be as disastrous (eg. RAID controllers taking a whole array of data with them).

        I have had experience you can say with every type of hardware out there. It's not unusual to see a Sun Workstation or Sun Server (where I currently work we still have a few Ultra's chugging) that have been purchased in the 90's. Even their hard drives haven't failed yet and have layers of dusts because people either forget about it or are afraid to touch it. However I have never seen a Dell that was more than 5 years old that either hasn't been replaced yet or had some major (hardware) problems with it. The same goes for hardware with PowerPC processors, those things keep living even after they've been off the market for years and the performance of an Apple with a quad core G5 is almost similar to the previous Mac Pro's (with Xeon processors) on most loads. Just now are the Xeon's (either the Nehalem architecture or the higher frequency versions of the previous) passing the G5's on such a level that you actually notice.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Just Some Guy (3352)

          However I have never seen a Dell that was more than 5 years old that either hasn't been replaced yet or had some major (hardware) problems with it.

          Seriously? About 6 months ago, I replaced my 6-year-old Dell workstation mainly because it couldn't hold all the RAM I wanted. Other than that, it was working perfectly. The same is true for the rest of our office; we're starting the next wave of hardware replacements strictly for the sake of upgrades. I haven't heard of our IT guy actually having to replace a Dell due to breakage. I'm not saying they're all great, but we've certainly had good luck.

  • Good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Eddy Luten (1166889)
    Sun's suffering [cnn.com], no longer really actively competing with anything. It would be a good thing for them to do and at $6.5B, it should be a no-brainer.
  • by C_Kode (102755) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:03AM (#27239823) Journal

    While Sun has finally come around on open source. They still seem to do it with trepidation and even hamper some of their own works. If IBM purchases them, hopefully that will change. I would love to see them take the cuffs off of Java, OpenSolaris, MySQL, and zfs. By cuffs, I mean different things about different projects. (licensing, open up development, etc)

    • by kungfuj35u5 (1331351) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:17AM (#27239969)

      While Sun has finally come around on open source. They still seem to do it with trepidation and even hamper some of their own works. If IBM purchases them, hopefully that will change. I would love to see them take the cuffs off of Java, OpenSolaris, MySQL, and zfs. By cuffs, I mean different things about different projects. (licensing, open up development, etc)

      ZFS is not under strict licensing or hampered in any way. The CDDL is not restricting it at all, it is the GPL that is not allowing it into the Linux kernel. Most of the BSD world has adopted ZFS with open arms, as well as Apple. I personally would not like to see Sun go, and as a student I'd like to take advantage of their OpenSPARC program while I still can.

    • by javacowboy (222023) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:18AM (#27239979)

      Come on!

      Sun has open sourced:

      NFS
      OpenOffice
      GlassFish
      Java
      Java Enterprise Edition
      Netbeans

      What has IBM open sourced? Oh...uh...Eclipse

      IBM has tons of closed source products:

      Websphere
      DB2
      Rational
      Lotus Notes
      etc.....

      Give me a break!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Nursie (632944)

        Hey, don't forget that IBM open sourced UNIX in the form of Linux!!

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Nursie (632944)
          Dammit, there was supposed to be a "</SCO>" tag in there, but slashdot ate it.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @09:28AM (#27241019)

        Google "Linux Technology Center" or "IBM Internal Open Source Bazaar" and be educated. IBM just hasn't taken sides in the distro war. Instead of putting distros out there, IBM is kicking a lot of money and code into the Linux kernel and a lot of the core software that makes up your favorite distributions.

        IBM probably contributes more code back to the FOSS community than Novell, potentially more than Red Hat.

        Quite a few of the "who's who" of the FOSS world work at IBM writing the code that you're now using.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I think Sun has an open source strategy as a company, while IBM does open source not at the company level but more at the divisional/product level.

      • Open Sourcing at Sun (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DesScorp (410532)

        "Sun has open sourced:"

        Sun has open sourced nearly everything they have. Which is why I'm at a loss to understand why IBM is buying them. There's no product Sun makes that has a distinct advantage over an IBM product, nothing Sun has that IBM would really consider an improvement over their products. Solaris over AIX? Eh, that's iffy.

        There was a time I thought they'd buy Sun just to own Java, but now that its been open sourced, that reasoning is out the window. I think what IBM is really buying is quite sim

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:47AM (#27240405) Journal
      Mod parent +1 funny.

      Sun finally come around to the idea of open source? Sun, the company founded by early BSD developers, which actively contributed to BSD back before there were x86 chips capable or running a real UNIX? The company that bought StarOffice to open source it, and still contributes about 80-90% of the developer time to OpenOffice.org? The company that open sourced their entire enterprise UNIX stack, to the benefit of other systems (DTrace and ZFS in FreeBSD are really nice. It's a shame Linux has a license that's too restrictive to allow it to incorporate other features, but if you pick a restrictive license you have to live with the consequences). Not to mention Java and all of their Apache-related contributions, or their work on PostgreSQL and their purchase and continued support of MySQL.

      Still, IBM has open sourced AIX and Notes, and their database systems. Oh, wait, they haven't. They've put a little work into the Linux kernel, some into Xen, and a bit more effort into Eclipse and a few Java-related projects, but they've made smaller contributions to the Free Software community overall (unless you count marketing dollars) than Sun in spite of being almost two orders of magnitude larger.

      Just because IBM shouts louder than Sun about their commitment to open source doesn't make it a fact.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nine-times (778537)

        I think there's just a perception, deserved or not, that Sun is somehow holding back from really allowing their products to be open. They think that IBM hasn't open sourced all their products, but when they've contributed to FOSS projects, it's been on the up-and-up, while Sun is pretending to support FOSS but in reality dragging their feet.

        I've heard people complain that Sun stonewalls improvements to OpenOffice that don't fit with their strategic vision, even if lots of people want those improvements. I

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      While Sun has finally come around on open source.

      What do you mean finally coming around? They've contributed to open source for almost a decade.

  • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:08AM (#27239879) Journal
    I always thought they would end up being bought by Fujitsu before anyone else. I figure the 100% premium for their stock is :

    a) a jumping-off point for talks ... the talks are not yet final, and IBM is neither stupid, or in the mood to spend money it doesn't have to.
    b) because the value of Sun's stock has more to do with their earnings than with the value of their IP, which is likely what IBM is really after.
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@gm a i l.com> on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:13AM (#27239931) Homepage Journal

    I'm normally against mergers but I think this is one move that actually helps both, where synergies do apply.

  • by Main MAn (162800) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:14AM (#27239939)

    Why nobody though about that before?

    1- Buy Sun
    2- License ZFS under GPLv2
    3- Sell Sun
    4- Done

  • by andy1307 (656570) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:17AM (#27239975)
    IBM.com that is...
  • Long thought that (Score:3, Interesting)

    by olddotter (638430) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:18AM (#27239985) Homepage
    I have long thought that Sun would eventually sell to either IBM or Oracle mostly to get control of Java. Wonder if Oracle is even interested?
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:28AM (#27240101)
    I remember about 9 years ago when IBM bought out Sequent Computer Systems [wikipedia.org]. My employer at the time was a Sequent customer and I knew people who worked at Sequent's corporate office. They were at first all gung ho about joining IBM, but the reality that set in wasn't pretty. As often happens in business, a big company buys a competitor simply to shut the competitor down. Click on the Wikipedia link provided to get some more info on the deal and alternative explanations for the decision to close down Sequent. If I worked for Sun, I wouldn't hold my breath that this would be a good deal for me, but the stock holders and upper management at Sun may come out well from this.
  • by OTDR (1052896) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:41AM (#27240305)
    I genuinely question the future of Open Office, Netbeans, Java, et al if IBM acquires Sun. I'm not implying there will be a malicious or concerted effort to kill any particular product or anything, it's just IBM. Long before there was a Linux community I was a die-hard OS/2 user (the best single-user OS there ever was) and before that worked years for an IBM dealer. IBM was, is, and always will be a company of brilliant engineers that can't market water in a desert. Continually-shifting reprioritizations, undercutting of third-party support, you name it -- they kill their own products by their own sheer idiocy.
    • As a current IBMer, mod parent up... IBM is where good products and companies go to die. They have this enormous pool of talented people and excellent products, yet still manage to bury it all under an idiotic, quarterly-results-bottom-line-screw-investment mentality. I've seen small groups in IBM do great things - and then they get noticed, sucked into some larger organization (they're duplicative and we're bigger so we're obviously right!) and any innovation, good ideas, or anything positive at all get sw

  • hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by buddyglass (925859) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:54AM (#27240513)

    AIX vs. Solaris? DB2 vs. MySQL? This certainly bodes well for IBM's Java offerings and it means they can stop developing their own JRE, if they haven't already. They can also cannibalize Sun's server customers. On the other hand, it seems like this has to mean certain parts of Sun's business die. AIX and Solaris don't both need to exist within the same company. SPARC and POWER don't need to exist within the same company. DB2 and MySQL might, since they target different markets.

  • by zandermander (563602) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:56AM (#27240539)
    I've been expecting an announcement like this since at least 2002. I was at a recruiting event at Sun back in late 2002 and it was pretty obvious to me then that they had lost their way. They had no killer products or even rumors of such, they'd gone through a number of rounds of "cost cutting" measures (read: layoffs) and they were focused on yesterday's technology or pie-in-the-sky ideas. But, big things have a lot of momentum and can coast for a long time before reality hits. And, for some, reality will only hit when they feel the frigid waters of the north Atlantic.
  • by S77IM (1371931) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:56AM (#27240541)

    OK, I've got no special love for Sun, but please God please, do not let them get swallowed up by the IBM bureaucracy.

    "New in Java 8! XML-binding database security extension protocol modules for WebSphere integrated at every level of the language, providing automatic clustering, fail-over and performance profiling! To support this feature, a critical part of many customer solutions, writing a Java class will now require an additional 37 configuration files, and if you make a mistake in any one of them, a cryptic error will be thrown at run-time. For security reasons, we can't tell you what the error codes mean. Also, half of java.* and javax.* no longer work according to the specification and javadoc, and XML will now be stored in binary. IBM consultants are available to help you with the transition."

      -- 77IM

  • Transitive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mikeee (137160) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @09:48AM (#27241379)

    IBM also recently bought Transitive, the leading CPU-soft-emulation company. They produce the Power emulator that Apple ships in every Intel Mac, and also have products to emulate Mainframe on x86 and Sparc on x86 or Power.

    I had assumed they bought the company just to kill the Mainframe-on-x86 product, but this could actually provide a reasonable path forward; keep Solaris but migrate it to x86 or Power6.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @09:51AM (#27241427)

    Oh would I love to be a fly on the wall when Scott meets the board of IBM:

    Sam: "Scott, we are cylons, welcome to IBM, come on in here and meet the Boys."
    Scott enters with buck-teeth grinning and nervously shaking hands.
    Sam: "Come on in, resistance is futile, heh, heh, heh, have a seat, can we get you some coffee or a hot secretary with a danish?"
    Sam pushes button, windows begin to black out, screen descends from the ceiling, lights lower and first two bars of Battlestar Galactica theme begins to play over and over again.
    Sam: "Let us review."
    Battlestar Galactica theme continues past first two bars as announcer says "previously on Battlestar": a video of Scott at just about EVERY Sun or COMDEX user's conference in the 80s and 90s on stage viciously blasting IBM and Microsoft. Video of Scott and leisure suit Larry (Ellison) together onstage at various trade presentations in 80s and 90s blasting IBM and Microsoft. Clip of Scott's mom blasting IBM and Microsoft. Video of Scott touting "the network is the system" and "dot in dot com" and "network computing". Battlestar Galactica theme climaxes, 2009 is displayed on black screen and a single kettle drum beat smashes and rolls, Carmina Burana begins playing and lights come on as a team of white coated doctors and nurses enter the room and approach Scott.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @10:10AM (#27241801)
    Sun's original forte was the personal graphics workstations with bitmap graphics and standard flavor of UNIX. (OK, there was Apollo nad MicroVAXEN too, but hey had lots of non-standard UNIX stuff in them.) The emphasis was "personal". Even though these cost 1/2 to 2/3 an engineer's annual salary at the time, this freed people from the tyranny of the departmental computer. Plus they had turnkey networking, having pioneered many of the newtwork software protocols. Also they one one of the first candidates for the mythical "3M Computer"- one megabyte of memory, one million operations per second, and one mega pixel display. Steve jobs wanted an Apple computer for this slot, but when Apple they balked (four-figure price), he started NeXT.

    Sun had a brief renaissance in the 1990s with JAVA (Object-C done right), but it was too little too late.
  • by drolli (522659) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @10:59AM (#27242655) Journal

    in that case

    -mysql and DB2 would be owned by the same company
    -zfs and jfs would be ownded by the same company (yes i know jfs can also be licensed as GPL)
    -jsp could be defined by the owners of websphere
    -java technologies held by IBM and Sun could be merged

    etc...

  • makes sense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jipn4 (1367823) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @01:05PM (#27244595)

    This makes a lot of sense: Sun is mostly about Java these days, but they haven't figured out hot to monetize Java. IBM, on the other hand, is making quite a bit of money with Java.

    Sun has been running Java into the ground slowly. Hopefully, IBM can put Java on the right track again: fully open source it, fix its performance problems, provide better native interfaces, provide better integration with Linux, enable interoperability with Mono/.NET, etc.

  • by jafac (1449) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @03:14PM (#27246785) Homepage

    Stanford University Network.

    I think most people are lacking the historical perspective to understand the broader symbolic meaning of this buyout.

    SUN represents everything about computer evolution, the computer is the network, Silicon Valley enterpreneurship, crusty - bearded old Unix guys, hacker culture, West Coast Innovation, etc.

    IBM represents New York, East Coast, old-school business mentality, mainframes, closed-source, proprietary, white-shirt-and-tie cubicle-dwelling programmers.

    It's the end of the Net as we know it.

    If you look at the "1984" Apple Commercial: Big Brother just won.

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