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IBM Doubles Rewards For Ditching Sun 207

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the go-for-the-jugular dept.
Taking advantage of the uncertainty surrounding Oracle's acquisition of Sun, IBM has doubled the monetary incentives they are offering to ditch Sun gear. Offering $8,000 in software or services for every Sun Sparc processor ditched for an IBM Power server, the program seems to be paying off. IBM has helped 1,640 customers migrate from other manufacturers' hardware over the last year. "The program applies to Sparc-based Sun hardware, such as the Sparc, UltraSparc, and Sparc 64 servers, and also to Fujitsu systems that run on Sparc chips. A customer that moves off a Sparc-powered system running, say, eight processors would be eligible for up to $64,000 worth of rewards."
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IBM Doubles Rewards For Ditching Sun

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  • Most of them... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:13PM (#27817741)

    I am wondering how many of them would have switched to IBM Anyways?
    Or were going to go off Sun, and they saw the value discount.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by YayaY (837729)

      Seems like the next anti-trust lawsuit.

      • Re:Most of them... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by p4ul13 (560810) on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:45PM (#27818283) Homepage
        Huh wha? What about that is anti-competitive or monopolistic behavior? If IBM and Sun were the only source of servers out there, then I could understand the anti-trust comment. This is a bit ruthless, but it's completely legal.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by AvitarX (172628)

          It is pretty clearly anti-competitive.

          This is the price for one class of people, this other price for a second class that uses a competitor.

          As for the legality I would assume it is legal as IBM does not have a monopoly.

          They would have some defense as a benefits consumers argument too.

          • Re:Most of them... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Burkin (1534829) on Monday May 04, 2009 @02:16PM (#27818719)

            It is pretty clearly anti-competitive.

            In what way? How does it stifle competition?

            This is the price for one class of people, this other price for a second class that uses a competitor.

            How is that any different than a car dealer who takes a few thousands dollars off the price of a car when you trade in your old car? Is that also anti-competitive?

            As for the legality I would assume it is legal as IBM does not have a monopoly.

            They would have some defense as a benefits consumers argument too.

            How would it be illegal even if they did have a monopoly?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Firehed (942385)

            It's as anti-competitive as trading in your used car when buying a new vehicle.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by gobbligook (465653)

              I disagree, if only it were that simple.

              IBM is targeting SUN, they arn't targeting all computer manufacturers.

              The equivelent would be: FORD giving everyone a discount on a new vehicle if they traded in a GM. The guy who owned a DODGE would be out of luck.

              It's pretty clear here that IBM is trying to scoop SUN's customer base. This could have been the reason they wanted to aquire SUN in the first place.

              • Re:Most of them... (Score:4, Informative)

                by Burkin (1534829) on Monday May 04, 2009 @02:46PM (#27819193)

                IBM is targeting SUN, they arn't targeting all computer manufacturers.

                So what? That has little bearing on the law. There is nothing illegal in the fact that they are targeting one company's client base.

                The equivelent would be: FORD giving everyone a discount on a new vehicle if they traded in a GM. The guy who owned a DODGE would be out of luck.

                Which would be neither anti-competitive nor illegal. To run with your analogy there is nothing in the law that obligates a dealer to give trade-in discounts to everyone.

                It's pretty clear here that IBM is trying to scoop SUN's customer base. This could have been the reason they wanted to aquire SUN in the first place.

                Well of course they are trying to take away Sun's old customer's. That's what you see between any competing companies.

              • Which isn't illegal. If I want to target customers of a certain company, I'm free to do so. Nothing illegal about it.
            • Re:Most of them... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by mcrbids (148650) on Monday May 04, 2009 @03:08PM (#27819497) Journal

              IBM isn't going to re-sell the Sun hardware. Your car dealership nearly always makes a profit on the trade-in by selling them as used cars through a used car salesman on a lot with a different business name.

              Still, it's not anti competitive. To be more clear: this is a textbook definition of what competitive means.

              • Re:Most of them... (Score:4, Interesting)

                by gfxguy (98788) on Monday May 04, 2009 @03:15PM (#27819629)

                IBM isn't going to re-sell the Sun hardware.

                Huh...

                I was tending to agree with the notion that it wasn't anti-competitive until I ran across this line.

                If they are not going to resell it, then they are taking a trade in value that they cannot recoup. It's not quite, but it seems similar to dumping (lowering prices below your costs in order to drive a competitor out of the market).

                I'm not saying I have a problem with it, but look at it this way... if I was disinclined to by an IBM before, and IBM offered to sell to me below cost (by giving a way overpriced value for a trade-in) in order to get me to switch, I think that'd be considered anti-competitive.

              • Still, it's not anti competitive. To be more clear: this is a textbook definition of what competitive means.False. This is anticompetitive -- the goal is to reduce or eliminate competition in the marketplace. Textbook anti-competitive behavior. By shifting the credit to services, instead of a hardware rebate, they dance around it a bit... but the effect remains the same.

                Whether or not this is actionable is a different story. If IBM had a seriously dominant position in the marketplace (or a true monopoly

              • Crap. Forgot to preview. Here it is with correct formatting:

                Still, it's not anti competitive. To be more clear: this is a textbook definition of what competitive means.

                False. This is anti-competitive -- the goal is to reduce or eliminate competition in the marketplace. Textbook anti-competitive behavior. By shifting the credit to services, instead of a hardware rebate, they dance around it a bit... but the effect remains the same.

                Whether or not this is actionable is a different story. If IBM had a seri

      • Seems like the next anti-trust lawsuit.

        I doubt it.

        The only possible anti-trust [wikipedia.org] issue is if IBM is suspected of "anti-competitive practices that tend to lead to such a dominant position".

        Considering IBM still has some stiff competition from HP [idc.com] and there are other smaller competitors in the market it doesn't appear they are at risk of any other anti-trust abuses.

        I wouldn't let my guard down with any corporation, but I don't see any signs yet of IBM violating anti-trust laws or acting in an anti-competitive ma

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Z00L00K (682162)

      Sun and Solaris are going to be a dead end soon. It's time for vendors to realize that you have to count more on Linux and Windows if you are going to release your software for mainstream use.

      There are still vendors that are specialized in Solaris, even though they with little effort could be supporting at least Linux.

      And even though Sparc has been an important processor architecture it's likely that it's going the same way as Digital's Alpha - a slow death. The next processor that's going down the drain is

      • Unix and closed hardware solutions are a dead end. Linux is today an alternative that is almost always more stable, secure and supported than any randomly picked Unix box.

        LOL

        • As always, the SA and his policies are a much bigger factor than the OS. Except WINTEL.

          Sun N2 chip is really a screamer if you want multi-thread JAVA processing.

          What would be interesting is if Oracle had SUN develop a DBA tuned CPU for their use. THAT would really a hit to IBM.

          DISCLAMER: I work for one of the 3 companies involved here. Not the one you might think.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ThePhilips (752041)

            DISCLAMER: I work for one of the 3 companies involved here. Not the one you might think.

            There is only one company not mentioned in the thread which has something at stake here: HP.

            Reading the mood in the industry, I'd say HP-UX would die sooner than AIX or (Open)Solaris. AIX simply has no chances of dying - IBM develops it completely in-house and uses it as private platform for all possible top-down solution. Solaris is way too vital asset, in several industries considered to be a standard OS: it would be dying (if ever) very very long time. HP-UX, though absorbed Tru64, due to lacking fea

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by afabbro (33948)

        And even though Sparc has been an important processor architecture it's likely that it's going the same way as Digital's Alpha - a slow death. The next processor that's going down the drain is probably the Power architecture, even though it's backed by IBM.

        That's a pretty sweeping statement.

        Right now, if you want a commodity chip that does most things very well, you buy something x86 based. If you have a lot of flexibility and want very low power consumption, you might consider Sun's CoolThreads chips. If you want very high performance and have a lot of money, you buy the fastest chip...which happens to be IBM's Power.

        The CoolThreads stuff is neat, but never really took off at the volume Sun was hoping. To use them, you had to be very multithreaded and whi

        • Re:Most of them... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by ThePhilips (752041) on Monday May 04, 2009 @05:52PM (#27822027) Homepage Journal

          The CoolThreads stuff is neat, but never really took off at the volume Sun was hoping.

          It's way too Java biased.

          My company did evaluation (C/C++ stack of applications) with only one result: disabling the CPU multithreading capabilities improves performance. Otherwise, sustained performance penalty makes the whole solution not worth its money.

          But it would be interesting to see how they do Java applications. In our stack, Java has bits of business logic, but mostly (one of the) front-end(s) for customers to hook up their own applications - it's not performance critical thus was not evaluated.

          As for POWER...there will always be people who need the biggest, fastest, baddest processor. A lot less people need them than they used to - x86 commodity keeps getting faster. But there will always be the top X% of the market that needs speed. That's why IBM sells POWER. And hey, while we're catering to them, we can also use it in our run-of-the-mill servers (AIX, AS/400, Mainframe, etc.)

          I think POWER has a lot more staying power than SPARC.

          I always had the opinion that IBM keeps POWER floating simply because it's pretty much always delivers profits. The POWER among architectures is like Linux among OSs: it scales from embedded systems to clusters to mainframes. IBM is pragmatical company and POWER apparently sells well: there seems to be undying demand for custom chips for all possible applications. Provided simplicity of POWER (some folks do implement PPC32 of FPGA) IBM can very quickly adjust it to requirements of a customer. If one market is slowing, other markets do support future development.

          In contrast, SPARC to be profitable has to have a wider market: it's not that flexible accommodating various application fields. They are present in essentially one (huge) market: servers. Yes, it's huge - but highly competitive market. In past, the sole reason for people to buy SPARC was Solaris: good, stable - slow - yet best server OS. I'm not sure how that would play out after Oracle's take over. Seeing how now Oracle runs on Linux/x64, I have strong feeling that SPARC might be the first business unit sacrificed. Solaris/x64 (which Sun already produces) might be way too tempting for Oracle as a way forward.

  • The Death of SPARC? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:14PM (#27817745) Journal
    Is this the death of SPARC [wikipedia.org]?

    I would have said murder but I'm not interested in a hardware flame war. I mean, I know Fujitsu and some lesser known companies are using it but I'm not sure in what capacity. Is this the end of SPARC?

    Can any hardware experts comment on whether or not this is the end of this architecture? Or does it have some niche market/capability like PowerPC?

    I guess OS support could have been a cue that it was on the way out but is there any reason to be concerned that it's apparently done?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by andyfrommk (1021405)

      Is this the death of SPARC [wikipedia.org]?....Or does it have some niche market/capability like PowerPC?

      The OpenSPARC [wikipedia.org] certainly serves a niche market, those with fab plants who are able to fabricate enough cpu's so that the per-cpu cost is cheaper than buying them from $cpu_mftr

      • Oh come on that is not in the Spirit of Open Source. Free is Free no matter what the real overhead it.

    • by teflaime (738532) on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:32PM (#27818055)
      SPARC was a dying hardware platform anyway. Sun was shipping far more Intel product than SPARC. It's too bad. SPARC was pretty good for the level it was designed to operate (mid-range area). IBM and HP have somehow convinced everyone that P5/6 and Itanium somehow fit in that environment, but they are really out of the price range and overpowered for those needs.

      I'm just hoping Solaris survives the Oracle take over. I still like Solaris better than Linux for webservers and such, personally.
      • by fm6 (162816) on Monday May 04, 2009 @02:00PM (#27818471) Homepage Journal

        Sun was shipping far more Intel product than SPARC

        I work at Sun on x64 products (both Intel and AMD) and this just isn't true. The x64 products are doing well, but our sales are still predominantly SPARC. The long-term strategy has always been for Sun to place more emphasis on x64 products, but not to the exclusion of SPARC systems. And so far, x64 hasn't even achieved parity with SPARC, or anything like it. Why? Not something I'm going to comment on in a public forum.

        A lot of Slashdotters seem to think that Sun has turned into a kind of white box server vendor. Even if we we totally abandoned SPARC, that's not going to happen. Our market niche is high-end computing, and always has been. In the x64 world, it means that in order to compete we have to do stuff that white boxes can't. This includes fancy lights-out remote management, really high computer density (anybody else have an 4U system with 8 processors and a half-terabyte of RAM?) and a greener machine with few plastic parts and a lot of power-conserving measures. These things require a lot of clever engineering, and are the only reason we have any successful x64 systems at all.

        I have no idea what Oracle has in mind for Solaris. Contacts with them are, if anything, more circumscribed than they would be under normal circumstances. But in my own inexpert opinion, it's not a coincidence that we've been acquired by one of the few software vendors that's still serious about Solaris/SPARC application.

        • by TheSunborn (68004)

          If you work for sun can you give the inside story for the UltraSPARC T1 chip?

          Was T1 really a x86-64 chip until sun bought the company that designed it and converted it to Sparc? And if so WHY?

          If sun had taken the x86 version of T1 given it an hyper transport and sold it to third parties(In the same way that Amd and Intel sell their chips)
          it might have taken a good part of the server world. Now it's just yet an other effective but far to expensive chip that can't beat Intel/Amd in $/performance
          for any worklo

          • by fm6 (162816) on Monday May 04, 2009 @02:56PM (#27819347) Homepage Journal

            I don't work in the microelectronics division, so I'm as much an outsider as you when it comes to this stuff. This is the first I've ever heard of the T1 being designed by an acquisition. I was always under the impression it was in-house from start to finish. Could you point me at any sources for this story, beyond the usual blog rumors?

            I could speculate as to the truth of this story, but now that I've IDed myself as a Sun employee, I'd get in a lot of trouble for doing so.

            I have to strongly disagree with this statement:

            If sun had taken the x86 version of T1 given it an hyper transport and sold it to third parties(In the same way that Amd and Intel sell their chips)
            it might have taken a good part of the server world.

            Not a bloody chance. There is simply no room for another player in the x64 component marketplace. AMD is just barely surviving; even with a grossly superior product, Sun would have to spend huge amounts of money just for the hope of becoming another minor player. And in the process, ruin our relationship with two companies that have helped us turn out a lot of profitable hardware.

            • by TheSunborn (68004)

              Sun bought "Afara Websystems" which were designing it. Sun finished the design. See for example
              http://news.zdnet.co.uk/hardware/0,1000000091,39154430,00.htm [zdnet.co.uk]

              But all the articles I could find say it was a sparc chip, even before sun bought the company. This is strange because I remember reading a long
              article about how the chip designers developing niagara were unhappy because sun changed the instruction set for the processor from x86-64 to sparc. (But they could at least keep using their current tools, even i

            • by turgid (580780) on Monday May 04, 2009 @03:46PM (#27820135) Journal

              I used to work for Sun too, just about the time they acquired Niagara from Afara (IIRC). Tremblay left Sun to found a startup which designed multi-core, multi-threaded CPUs, and they came up with Niagara, which was basically 8 very simple UltraSPARC cores on a chip, each core capable of holding 4 thread contexts which could be switched in and out to hide memory latency.

              This is how things used to work at Sun. Every so often, very clever people with "lunatic fringe" ideas would leave to found startups with VC money to realise the ideas, and Sun would buy them back when it looked like it might work.

              Sun's in-house CPU design is pathetic, which is why UltraSPARC started to lose out to x86 in the late '90s. Given the size of AMD's team and their complete lack of funds compared to Sun, Sun should have had much better CPUs than Opteron/AMD64, but look what happened. Fujitsu did much better with SPARC64.

              Buying MySQl was a bone-headed decision which finally killed Sun. They tried to buy a name for over $1bn and got nothing. As always happens with these take-overs, the lead developers left. Remember the Cobalt purchase? What about StorageTek? Are any of them left?

              There were many opportunities Sun should have taken but didn't. For example, they should have bought AMD right when Opteron came out (but Not Invented Here! - and it took some pretty loud shouting to get the Solaris prima-donnas to get Solaris on Opteron) and given AMD the task of developing UltraSPARC along side Opteron. Heck, some of us wondered, if a 64-bit x86 can be made to go so fast, what would it be like if the x86-translation layer was replaced with a SPARC-V9 translation layer? BIG HINT.

              Now, calling GNOME the "Java Desktop System" was suicide. Potential customers were saying, "Why would I want a desktop written in Java?" Marketing PHBs, I hope you have learned a lesson!

              Why did they ditch a bunch of the standard applets and rewrite less featured and slower ones in Java? I remember seeing a 1-pager proposing to write an MP3 player in Java for the JDS. Meanwhile we were shipping xmms on the Companion CD!

              Java, Java, Java, Java, Java,..... Blah!!!!

              PHBs, you may be interested in Java, but that was not Sun's core business, despite what you wanted to think, and all it did was alienate the millions of dedicated Unix people who used Solaris and Sun gear.

              So I bought some Sun shares in the employee discount scheme. When the takeover stuff was announce, the shares almost went up enough that if I sold them next year when I don't have to pay any tax on them, I'll only have lost about 25% of my money.

              I could have run that company better... Every year, buy some other companies with a few thousand employees, have a RIF and get a write-down against tax. Great strategy guys.

              Phew, I needed that. End of rant.

              • by fm6 (162816) on Monday May 04, 2009 @04:52PM (#27821089) Homepage Journal

                Sun's in-house CPU design is pathetic, which is why UltraSPARC started to lose out to x86 in the late '90s

                That might have been part of the reason, but I think the industry-wide shift away from chips that weren't Wintel-compatible might have had a bigger role. How many non-x86 CPUs are widely used? POWER? Not outside of IBM. MIPS? Not even what's left of SGI uses them; outside the embedded market, they are history. Itanium? Not even Intel could get people to buy them!

                Whatever the merits of your critique of Sun's management decisions (you'll understand if I keep my opinions on this to myself) I think you're overestimating the impact of the decisions you list. For example, even if MySQL turns out to be a $1 billion mistake, a single gigabuck writeoff is not enough to kill Sun. It's a lot of money, of course, but it's a onetime cost. The things that kill a company are more systemic than that, or any of the other things you mention. These are things like margins, marketing strategy, product focus.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by afabbro (33948)

          I work at Sun on x64 products (both Intel and AMD) and this just isn't true. The x64 products are doing well, but our sales are still predominantly SPARC.

          More importantly, the profits came overwhelmingly from SPARC. Selling high-end proprietary kit to big businesses is always going to be more profitable than selling volume x86 white boxes to the masses a per-dollar basis.

          The long-term strategy has always been for Sun to place more emphasis on x64 products, but not to the exclusion of SPARC systems. And so far, x64 hasn't even achieved parity with SPARC, or anything like it. Why? Not something I'm going to comment on in a public forum.

          Post anonymously.

          • by fm6 (162816)

            Anonymous posts are pretty pointless. They could be me, or they could be some stupid troll.

            SPARC products do indeed have a higher margin. And I suspect there will always be a market for them. But there are good reasons for Sun needing to grow its x64 market share. I'm going to have to assume everybody knows what they are, because certain people will give me a hard time if I start commenting on our marketing strategy.

    • capability like PowerPC?

      You should have your RDF receptor re-calibrated, friend.
      PowerPC has no capability! Intel is 32 X faster!!!

      • What I thought was funny was how after years and years of touting the PPC superiority over the X86 chips, as soon as Apple switched to Intel, they were bragging about how much better and faster their new Intel chipped products were over their old PPC systems. I guess in the end processing speed of the CPU does mean something after all!
        • by Burkin (1534829)

          they were bragging about how much better and faster their new Intel chipped products were over their old PPC systems. I guess in the end processing speed of the CPU does mean something after all!

          You mean except the fact that the Core2Duos/Quads they sell are usually of a lower stock clock speed than the ridiculously shitty P4s they used to compete against? Yes, these new Intel CPUs are faster but it's because they are multicore and have a better IPC performance not because of raw gigahertz speed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by moeinvt (851793)

        "PowerPC has no capability! Intel is 32 X faster!!!"

        Am I missing a joke here somewhere? The Power6 runs at speeds up to 4.7GHz and it's 2 years old! Does Intel have a chip running at 150.4 GHz that I didn't hear about?

        Power 7 comes out in 2010.

        32X ? LOL

    • by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Monday May 04, 2009 @02:19PM (#27818755)
      At my work we have a couple dual socket T2 sparc servers (T5140) that we are using as fileservers for 30 disk arrays, 150TB of disk space. We went with them because we liked SAMFS (Sun's hierachial storage management system), and the T2 chips have 8 cores X 8 way threaded for a total of 128 simultaneous compute threads in a 1U server.

      They can push a lot of I/O(60GB/s of I/O bandwidth per chip) but I wouldn't want it for compute intensive stuff because they only have 1 FPU per core, and 2 integer units per core (ie 8 threads have 1 FPU and 4 threads have 1 ALU). Anyways the current generation seemed to be targeted at I/O intensive stuff especially highly threaded protocols(eg. samba/NFS).

    • by rbanffy (584143)

      If Solaris/SPARC is dead, then so is AIX/POWER.

      If I ditch either of them, it will be for lower-end x86s. If the workload can be run on commodity hardware, that's certainly the way to go.

      That said, POWER and SPARC have some very specific advantages over x86.

      • Intel wins, but Power will take longer to die than Sparc because IBM has larger overall market share (unix, mainframe, etc.) to spread the cost of Power over the long haul. Mainframe isn't using Power yet, but it will.
  • Ditching Sun servers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OolimPhon (1120895) on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:18PM (#27817807)

    Does this mean that there will be a market full of cheap(ish) second-hand Sun servers your average geek might be able to make use of?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rakishi (759894)

      No, the opposite probably. IBM is likely sending those servers straight to the junk heap (or recycling heap nowadays).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by blhack (921171)

        The only logical thing to do in this case is raid the recycling heap.
        Or make a media fiasco out of IBM not allowing a bunch of starving geeks the opportunity to put a bunch of garbage to good use.
        BAD, IBM, BAD!

    • by blueskies (525815)

      No. There is going to be a rush on cheap second-hand sun servers so people can trade them in for $8k a pop. (ebay has sparc20s for $140 buynow price).

    • No. This means that the average selling price of sun equipment on ebay just jumped.

  • Sun may not the friendliest company around (CDDL and all that), but still, this seems like a cheap trick from IBM's side. What with all the generous contributions by Sun to open source movement (OpenOffice comes to mind)...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ultrabot (200914)

      Since slashdot doesn't allow editing your previous message - perhaps there is a bit of bad blood w/ IBM and the failed buyout attempt. In that case, this makes perfect sense.

    • Re:Cheap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by blitzkrieg3 (995849) on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:33PM (#27818089)
      These are two computer companies trying to make the most of it in tough economic times. They have an obligation with their shareholders to try to make money. Goodwill in the community frankly doesn't matter.
    • Re:Cheap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@gmail.REDHATcom minus distro> on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:39PM (#27818201)

      The CDDL is an OSI approved, Free Software, Copyleft license. It may be incompatible with the GPL but I'd hardly cite it as a reason to not like Sun.

    • Business as usual (Score:4, Insightful)

      by raftpeople (844215) on Monday May 04, 2009 @02:04PM (#27818523)
      This is not a cheap trick, just normal competition. The term "friendly" should not be considered when thinking of any of these companies or transactions, it's all about money.
    • by D Ninja (825055)

      Sun may not the friendliest company around (CDDL and all that), but still, this seems like a cheap trick from IBM's side. What with all the generous contributions by Sun to open source movement (OpenOffice comes to mind)...

      I don't know why you would consider it a cheap trick. It's business. The Oracle/Sun merger is full of doubt at the moment and IBM is taking advantage of that doubt. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    • by dimeglio (456244)

      all the generous contributions by Sun to open source movement (OpenOffice comes to mind)

      What is the difference between what IBM is doing to Sun vs what Sun is doing to Micrsoft with OpenOffice? Is that also unfair competition?

      IBM is just being smart and try to capitalise on the uncertainty around Sun's future. It's an easier sell to the manager who bought Sun. Gives them an incentive to switch vendors and not lose face.

  • Great news! (Score:4, Funny)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:28PM (#27817973) Journal
    I have four SPARCstation4s [wikipedia.org] in my attic. With one CPU each, I could switch away from all of them. I wonder if I could get $32,000 of software and services from IBM...
    • If you have a camera, please get a few good photos for that Wikipedia article!
    • I have four SPARCstation4s in my attic. With one CPU each, I could switch away from all of them. I wonder if I could get $32,000 of software and services from IBM...

      Sure, if you're going to buy four of their boxes at list price. But don't expect to sell those "software and services" on ebay for $32,000.

    • lol, me too - I have a Sparcstation IPC [obsolyte.com] serving as a monitor stand.

      IBM, where's my $8,000???? I have a 25 Mhz [sunstuff.org] CPU I'd like to trade in!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by aoheno (645574)

      I have four SPARCstation4s in my attic.

      Tough machines. Temperatures can swing over 100 fahrenheit up there, not to mention birds nesting in enclosures, rats feeding on cables, snakes feeding on rats, and Bear Grylls feeding on snakes.

      Make sure IBM guarantees the same level of durability.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:28PM (#27817983)

    I never really believed it. But the "due diligence" gave the opportunity for IBM to take a peek at what Sun has underneath its fingernails.

    Sun is down on the ropes, and IBM would like to give it a knock out.

    Yeah, IBM might have wanted to control Java, but the hardware . . . they've got enough hardware of their own.

  • by droidsURlooking4 (1543007) on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:29PM (#27817987)
    What a deal!
  • Wow IBM, (Score:3, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:29PM (#27818005) Journal
    Way to put your money where your mouth is. "Software or services" dollars are pretty much weasel dollars, aren't they?
    • Yeah, I'd be more impressed if that was redeemable in hardware. What are the IBM consultants really going to say "Good job ditching Sun! Now ditch Oracle for DB2!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by raftpeople (844215)
      Way to put your money where your mouth is. "Software or services" dollars are pretty much weasel dollars, aren't they?

      The goal isn't to "put their money where their mouth is", the goal is to provide an incentive to switch to IBM hardware at a time when more companies would consider it due to the unknown future regarding Sun hardware. The reason it's "weasal" dollars is because hardware is down and they don't want to show a bigger drop in hardware, so the money is given away from the services part of the
      • The reason it's "weasal" dollars is because hardware is down and they don't want to show a bigger drop in hardware, so the money is given away from the services part of the business where profits are high and thus the financial statement still looks good at the end of the quarter.

        Which makes sense, since the hardware is pretty close to just being a loss leader for the services anyway.

        It's kind of cute that they're portraying this as the services side being a loss-leader for the hardware (i.e., we'll give y

    • I was at a large (in its day) unix workstation vendor, not sun but one very similar and close by, many years ago.

      we were doing network management and some vendor wanted us to yank out what we had and install their stuff instead.

      I think it was some pig pkg like tivoli or CA unicenter. some gigantic pig of an 'app suite'.

      they said they'd give us a million dollars in software credit if we switched entirely over to them.

      that, in itself, pretty much gave their intention away. it was to sell us HUGE support con

  • Intel just got in trouble for providing incentives to not offer a processor.

    This is definately a bit different then that, but does this not seem like an anti-competitive type of move?

    Any tech lawyers read slashdot?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      These are two different things. Intel got in trouble for trying to block consumers from purchasing AMD products. Nothing in IBM's incentive program prevents people from staying with Sun or even leaving IBM for Sun. Now, there are anti-trust laws about price wars. Can't say how those would come in to play

      • IANAL, but it should be legal if the end result is not selling the hardware for less than it's production cost. Which is entirely possible, considering that $8,000 of IBM products doesn't actually cost IBM anywhere near $8,000.
    • by Burkin (1534829)

      but does this not seem like an anti-competitive type of move?

      No, it sounds like a very highly competitive move on IBM's part. Exactly what in this offer is anti-competitive?

  • a reward (Score:3, Funny)

    by nimbius (983462) on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:33PM (#27818065) Homepage
    naturally implies there is some type of punishment for not upgrading to IBM servers...
  • by rs232 (849320) on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:36PM (#27818131)
    We love Linux, we love community development and we love open source," McNealy told The Register in an interview. "We just don't like Red Hat.'

    "We think we are the good guys. Who has donated more code than us? IBM keeps donating end-of-life code - remnants of roadkill [theregister.co.uk] they've bought .." Oct 2004

    "a year ago is when Sun and MS bought licenses from SCO and SCO filed its lawsuit against IBM [groklaw.net]. And in March a year ago, SCO sued IBM, while Ballmer and McNealy had a round of golf and discussed how to work together. What a coincidence"
  • I'm not switching... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Monday May 04, 2009 @01:49PM (#27818327)
    We use excludively OpenBSD on UltraSParc servers for our financial transactions processing. I am not switching - I want uptimes of a year and I certainly dont want to port our software to another OS or hardware. $8k wouldnt go near that. (We have over 20 CPUs, but porting is not going to happen while my Sun kit works). I have never paid Sun a penny for support. Their kit is reliable.
  • by JamesP (688957) on Monday May 04, 2009 @02:19PM (#27818749)

    It's no problem for IBM to shave 8k in their overpriced sw or services... It's a drop in the bucket comparing to the usual amount you'll get charged...

    • by JSBiff (87824)

      Yeah, whenever I see substantial discounts being offered by *anyone* - whether it's software, hardware, cars, or cell phone service, it just makes me realize how much I was being ripped off *before* the discount.

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday May 04, 2009 @02:29PM (#27818889)

    Taking advantage of the uncertainty surrounding Oracle's acquisition of Sun, IBM has doubled the monetary incentives they are offering to ditch Sun gear.

    If I have to double the bribe I'm paying to get somebody to abandon a competitor's product from what I was previously offering, that doesn't sound like there is uncertainty in the market that I am taking advantage of, it seems like I've suddenly become desperate that if I don't convince people to leave right now I'm never going to be able to.

    And it makes sense: Oracle with Sun, once it finishes integrating its product lines, is going to have a lot more capacity to compete with IBM in offering complete solutions than pre-Sun Oracle or pre-Oracle Sun on their own could.

  • by dogsbreath (730413) on Monday May 04, 2009 @02:29PM (#27818895)

    .. but most freaking industrial apps are essentially single threaded and the best speed I can get on SPARC is 2.6 G or so ( for mucho $$$)... and Sun is not going anywhere with the h/w research. IBM meanwhile has P6 cpus at 4.7 GHz and much higher in the works. Sun won't survive on Jave, DTrace, and sentimentality.

    The T series rock for web and other // processing needs, and they are low power (relatively) but most times I'm better off looking at RH and a Dell.

    So... Sun h/w is dying, the Solaris o/s ain't so special anymore (kudos to linux and BSD flavours), and Sun has just been bought by a company headed by a bigger freak than Scott McNealy. And: Oracle doesn't speak o/s or h/w development.

    A lot of our vendors are tied specifically to Solaris and SPARC. We're telling them to find another mainstream platform: Linux/x86 or AIX/P. Oracle has a window of opportunity while a lot of apps are still tied to Solaris but those apps are more and more available on alternate platforms or specialized industrial apps without much market effect.

    Sad, but Sun and the SPARC/Solaris products are in various stages of death.

    Almost makes Nortel look good.

  • Ok, so IBM isn't a monopoly and the should compete in the market. But this seems like a really pissy thing to do after the Sun deal went sour. They're just trying to be jerks about this.

    • by turgid (580780)

      It's nothing poysonal, it's just business.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HikingStick (878216)
      I don't think they're trying to be jerks. I think they wanted Sun's business. Period. They first hoped to gain it through and acquisition. That failed, so now they are resorting to an older tactic: offering incentives to lure customers away from the competition.

      The reason I believe many people don't like the sound of this deal is due to the relatively high value of the incentives. If you consider what these companies pay for IBM and/or Sun gear, however, those incentives are a drop in the bucket. It'
  • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Monday May 04, 2009 @05:25PM (#27821607) Homepage

    No problem!

    I've got a Sparcstation 20 with two cpus that can be yours for the low low price of $4000 -- that $4000 spent will get you a discount of $16000 off the price of IBM software and services!

    If you need more, I can also provide several Sparcstation IPXs and LXs for $2000 each, which will provide a discount of $8000 each.

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk

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