Less than a week after Cisco delivered on their announced intent to get deeper into the cloud computing space with their own line of servers IBM is said to be in serious talks to acquire Sun Microsystems (JAVA). Â This is the just one of what should be many moves to consolidate positions to address the “Compute 2.0” opportunity that blurs the lines between servers, networks, storage and devices. Â
Sun has blundered it’s way to only a 10% market share in servers but it will help put IBM firmly in the #1 spot ahead of a surging HP. Â It makes it clear that IBM is going to take this battle seriously and Cisco may be surprised how competitive the old Big Blue can be if you come into their living room. Â The hardware though is not what interests us the most.
Sun would bring IBM some very strategic software assets. Â Java occupies a key role in enterprise computing and some open source products like MySQL are king in the more open general Internet space. Â Sun has many software product lines but for something to matter in the context of IBM it has to be bigger than most of these.
If the deal goes through we will be especially interested in what IBM will do with StarOffice. Â (An equal to Microsoft Office on Linux.) Â Linux on the desktop has yet to catch on in any mainstream way but has seen some pockets of success with individuals and government organizations in Europe. Â In the hands of IBM it might be a very different story and a very unpleasant outcome for Microsoft. Â
The potential deal would make it clear that IBM will not sit back and watch Cisco gain share in the server space but we don’t yet know if part of this is to counter growing client computing influence from Google and Apple and the ability for Microsoft to rebuild itself on the back of Windows 7.
If IBM does take the initiative with OpenOffice they will again occupy a prominent space in the client computing space, at least on the software side. Â With no personal computers or mobile devices they may be feeling that they have to do something to prevent Google and Apple be putting down roots from the client and mobile computing spaces.