Outcome of acquisition talks unclear for IBM, Sun, customers

The two server rivals are reportedly in acquisition talks. A deal may be good for them, but it raises questions for Sun shops.

An acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc. by IBM might have its good points, especially for Sun's long-suffering shareholders. But IT users and analysts have concerns about the prospective deal that can be summed up in two words: uncertainty and fear.

While Sun is a diminished company these days, it remains influential, thanks largely to its open-source products and the massive development communities that have built up around them -- Java and MySQL in particular.

Now, with IBM and Sun reportedly engaged in acquisition talks, there are questions about what IBM might do with those technologies.

For instance, the potential deal got mixed reviews from Java users last week. On the Javalobby developer site, forum posts voiced worries that IBM would favor its own software products at the expense of Sun's.

There's also the issue of community relations. In Philadelphia alone, the local Java user group has more than 1,200 members. David Fecak, president of the decade-old group, said he and other members of the Java community like the democratic process that Sun has put in place to guide the technology's direction.

If a takeover does occur, Fecak wondered, would IBM continue to let the Java community operate as it does now -- or would it move decision-making "underground" and take "the community process away from the community"?

Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata Inc., sees an inherent conflict between Sun's open-source ethos and what he thinks is IBM's continuing proprietary direction. Although IBM has been a big supporter of Linux, its embrace of the open-source operating system "is in the context of what serves IBM," Haff said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IBMSun Microsystems

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?