Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IBM, Sun, Oracle, SAP, and everything

Busy news day, with thousands of electrons being devoted to IBM's potential acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

Tom Sullivan at InfoWorld had an interesting take:

"People view this as a merger of two hardware companies, but the software is a bigger aspect that may change IBM and other large software companies," said Ian Finley, a vice president at AMR Research.

Michael Cote, an analyst at RedMonk, pointed out that IBM controlling Java "could be something people who depend on Java will freak out about."

AMR's [Finley] added, "If IBM enforces control over the Java Community Process the way Microsoft controls .Net, and WebSphere becomes perceived as better middleware because of it, then IBM gets an inherent advantage. Plus, it could de-stabilize the foundations of Oracle and SAP's products because Oracle's Fusion and SAP's NetWeaver are both tightly wedded to Java."

Or perhaps not:

Such divisive action, however possible, would not happen easily or quickly. Java's community process could hamstring any efforts by IBM to wrangle too much control of Java standards, said Al Gillen, program vice president for system software at IDC. "In a community-based environment, if IBM does something with Java the community doesn't like, members can fork Java," Gillen explained. "I think IBM gets that."

EDN thinks the move makes sense:

IBM has had a few less-than-stellar quarters, but is far from struggling. With some $13 billion in cash, it could easily afford the rumored Sun buy. Big Blue, as exampled by its ThinkPad line sale to Lenovo in 2005, has been moving away from hardware and putting its focus on software and services.
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