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Sun's Options Without IBM: Split Up?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 12 comments

Yesterday the world woke up to news that what seemed like an almost signed and sealed deal between Sun Microsystems had fallen through. Questions immediately turned to what struggling Sun was going to do next.

Following a legal review on Saturday, IBM reduced its offer from $9.55 per share to $9.40. The offer was then presented to Sun’s board, and the board recoiled. While the offer was not rejected the right off the bat, the NYT reports that Sun wanted wanted certain guarantees that IBM considered “onerous.” Sun then said it would no longer abide by its exclusive negotiating agreement with IBM and on Sunday, IBM withdrew its offer completely.

CNN today reports that Sun does have a plan B, huge sighs of relief right? Well, not quite. Sun analysts are singing the praises of software side of Sun. However, while the software is hot, the analysts say Sun as a whole is not as attractive,

"The company is too complex -- there are parts that others just don't want to take on," George Weiss, a Sun analyst at Gartner told CNN Money. "Sun will have to take alternatives by either splitting up or downsizing. Sun still has several options, since there are parts of the company that could bring value to one or several companies on the market," he continued.

"But those companies probably won't want to acquire Sun as an entire entity," Weiss finished.

The idea of a Sun spinning off its departments and selling some but not others is daunting. Without knowing who’s in the market to buy the company now that IBM is out of the business, it’s impossible to know which way it would go. Still, food for thought.

Discuss
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  • 6 Hide
    squatchman , April 7, 2009 2:46 PM
    Sun should burn their Hardware and "Solaris on the Desktop" divisions.

    For anyone who hasn't had the misfortune of trying to use Solaris on a workstation I have two words, "Java Desktop."

  • 5 Hide
    lamorpa , April 7, 2009 3:13 PM
    Oh yeah. Break up the company to get more value. Which company did that work for? DEC? Anybody?
  • 6 Hide
    JeBuSBrian , April 7, 2009 3:14 PM
    For crying out loud Tom's, hire a proof-reader already.
  • 1 Hide
    jsloan , April 7, 2009 3:18 PM
    sun's options without ibm come down to whither, shrivel and die. and while the software is hot, it's not that hot, if they charged for it. imagine paying $3,000 for java, netbeans, glassfish, a year... microsoft will have new converts. more likely more people will switch to eclipse, tomcat, ect... so, sun can't make money on it's software and it can only make a fading amount on it's hardware, squeezed into smaller nitch...
  • 3 Hide
    Greatwalrus , April 7, 2009 3:55 PM
    Hmm, well as long as they save their open source software division, then I'm happy.

    I still rather IBM just buy it all :\
  • 0 Hide
    jsloan , April 7, 2009 7:45 PM
    most likely sun will be broken up and sold in parts... java future depends on someone with the money, size, expertice, vision getting it, else it's going the way of dbase. i would prefer ibm, they look like they have what it takes to keep it open source and worthwhile. i think that a good number of the java developers will bail over time, ibm is very different than sun, sun hippies meet the ibm jocks. we will end up with cobol java, but at least we will have something. i guess projects like ruby, groovy, php, python will be the winner as people peal off.
  • 0 Hide
    megamanx00 , April 7, 2009 10:16 PM
    OMG, what will happen to MySQL!! Seriously I'm like tied to that database!! Do you have any idea how much code I would have to rewrite!!!??? I would like to think that even without Sun MySQL would still get developed because too many websites run on it. The problem is, if it splinters it could make my life a bit more difficult

    I need java, noooooo darn it. I'm gonna be left with silverlight and flash, and I ain't going to silverlight :( . Well I guess I do a lot of stuff with flash, but I still like java for certain things. Heaven forbid the wrong people take control of steering java and drive it right into the ground faster than the old Sun was doing. Worst case, we're left with Microsoft java, which isn't really java anymore, but, oh well. Then again I'm sure someone will in the open source community will take up java and try to get it going in the right direction.

    What will happen to Open Office? The last thing I want to see is it splinter off into different versions with incompatible add-ons. Then again it could be a chance for Novel to push their version as the dominant one.

    This is really the fault of Sun's board. They should have taken that offer from IBM, but no. It's the same kind of idiocy as the MS Yahoo deal all over again. O.k well I'm actually glad the MS Yahoo deal fell through, but I cant take that the IBM Sun deal fell through when there are no other buyers. Doh!
  • 0 Hide
    Dmerc , April 8, 2009 9:53 AM
    Hopeful nothing happens to Virtual Box.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 8, 2009 3:05 PM
    If all of you people bought/paid for Sun's amazing products, we wouldn't be having these discussions. And the last thing you want is IBM buying Sun. Since when did IBM give anything away for free or opensource? If IBM could charge you for talking about IBM, they would. IBM has survived because of its proprietary lock in technologies where you are locked in to choosing IBM and therefore forced to continue paying them for licensing, support, etc. IBM is no better than Microsoft. Vote with your wallets not your mouth.
  • 0 Hide
    jsloan , April 8, 2009 4:04 PM
    phil64If all of you people bought/paid for Sun's amazing products, we wouldn't be having these discussions. And the last thing you want is IBM buying Sun. Since when did IBM give anything away for free or opensource? If IBM could charge you for talking about IBM, they would. IBM has survived because of its proprietary lock in technologies where you are locked in to choosing IBM and therefore forced to continue paying them for licensing, support, etc. IBM is no better than Microsoft. Vote with your wallets not your mouth.


    ??? eclipse, to start off with, google ibm and open source
  • 0 Hide
    jsloan , April 8, 2009 4:08 PM
    megamanx00OMG, what will happen to MySQL!! Seriously I'm like tied to that database!! Do you have any idea how much code I would have to rewrite!!!??? I would like to think that even without Sun MySQL would still get developed because too many websites run on it. The problem is, if it splinters it could make my life a bit more difficultI need java, noooooo darn it. I'm gonna be left with silverlight and flash, and I ain't going to silverlight . Well I guess I do a lot of stuff with flash, but I still like java for certain things. Heaven forbid the wrong people take control of steering java and drive it right into the ground faster than the old Sun was doing. Worst case, we're left with Microsoft java, which isn't really java anymore, but, oh well. Then again I'm sure someone will in the open source community will take up java and try to get it going in the right direction.What will happen to Open Office? The last thing I want to see is it splinter off into different versions with incompatible add-ons. Then again it could be a chance for Novel to push their version as the dominant one. This is really the fault of Sun's board. They should have taken that offer from IBM, but no. It's the same kind of idiocy as the MS Yahoo deal all over again. O.k well I'm actually glad the MS Yahoo deal fell through, but I cant take that the IBM Sun deal fell through when there are no other buyers. Doh!


    mysql forks

    ...and was made to rethink which MySQL fork to follow going forward:

    - MariaDB (led by MySQL founder/creator Michael "Monty" Widenius)

    - Drizzle (led by MySQL Director of Architecture Brian Aker)

    - Percona enhanced MySQL binaries
  • 0 Hide
    Hanin33 , April 8, 2009 4:16 PM
    jane, love your werk and apparent enthusiasm towards the trolls and fans on here, but really... wot is the deal with the spelling/grammar? i mean, this is wot yall are paid for and it seems like someone along the line isn't trying. is there no proof reader/editor on staff? i hate to be like the rest of the nitpickers about it but when it becomes a groundhog's day event.. it becomes annoying.