Sun Microsystems would be open to continue talks with IBM over a merger if the latter makes a commitment to complete a deal.
According to a Bloomberg report, which quotes sources close to the talks, Sun would be willing to continue talks if IBM makes a stronger commitment to completing a deal.
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IBM failed to reach an agreement to buy Sun, despite reports earlier this month that a deal was expected within days. Talks between the two companies ran into "significant obstacles" and IBM reportedly withdrew its $7bn bid for Sun.
IBM and Sun were in merger talks for several weeks over a deal, which was valued at $9.55 a share.
After a legal review of potential problems, such as Sun's contracts with employees and IBM competitors, IBM is said to have reduced the offer.
IBM withdrew the offer but it was not clear whether the collapse in talks is permanent or temporary.
A deal would enable IBM to become the dominant supplier of Unix servers, and strengthen its position against rivals Hewlett-Packard and Oracle in the database software sector.