Twitter users have been busy tapping away their thoughts on what a possible sale of Sun to IBM would mean. The deal could give IBM access to Sun's valuable intellectual property, particularly its Java software, tools, servers and services.
The Wall Street Journal and the FT have both reported that the two IT giants are in talks. The acquisition of Sun could potentially give IBM a small boost in its server market share, but Sun's Solaris-based Unix workstations and server hardware, which use the Sparc microprocessor, are unlikely to fit with IBM's Power processor family of Aix-based servers,Z-series mainframes and X series PC servers.
Forrester analyst John Rymer says, "Sun's growth strategy of appealing to developers through open source software - Open Solaris, MySQL, NetBeans, GlassFish - and hoping they will then turn to Sun for servers and storage will not work in a global recession. The strategy depended on the rise of a new wave of internet businesses - Web 2.0 - and expansion of the internet offerings of telcos and existing large service providers - called 'red shift companies'. In a global recession, neither camp is growing at the rates Sun needs. So for Sun, the game is over, and it has to sell."
So if Sun has to sell, and IBM is themost likely buyer, what will be the fallout? According to user on Twitter, "The buyout would bolster IBM's heft on the internet."
Another asked where MySQL would fit in the possible take-over, given that Sun now owns MySQL, and IBM already has the DB/2 database. "Will IBM keep both DB2 and MySQL?"
OneTwitter user believes IBM would drive the development deployment of Linux and Java-based technologies if it took over Sun: "Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Cisco will have to rethink [their strategies]."
But there has been no news yet of an IBM acquisition.
Dana Gardner, president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, does not believe it makes sense for IBM to buy Sun. He says, "By buying Sun, IBM gains little other than some intellectual property and mySQL. IBM could have bought MySQL or open sourced DB/2 or a subset of DB/2 any time, if it wanted to go that route. IBM has basically already played its open source hand, which it did masterfully at just the right time. Sun, on the other hand, played (or forced) its open source hand poorly, and at the wrong time. What is the value to Sun for having 'gone open source'? Owning Java is not a business model, or not enough of one to help Sun meaningfully."
So although IBM would most certainly gain a valuable software from the acquisition of Sun, Twitter users and analysts are unclear how well Sun would fit within Big Blue.