Tuesday, March 31, 2009

IBM and Sun Merger?

If you are afraid to open any business section of the newspaper or look at a financial web site for fear of seeing what has happened to your 401K, I certainly understand (and feel) your pain. However, let me give you a reason to take look... IBM has been in discussion with Sun about a possible merger!

While this may or may not impact your financial portfolio, it could definitely start to impact the technological landscape - especially as it relates to Java developers. Since the news broke back on March 19 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123735124997967063.html?mod=sphere_ts&mod=sphere_wd) there has been little new information. Heidi Moore from the Wall Street Journal has blogged about this and its possible meaning (see http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/03/31/ibm-sun-do-they-have-a-deal-does-it-matter/).

I am not a financial expert nor enough of a business analyst to know long term how such a merger will impact our Java community. But there are a long list of questions we should keep in mind should such an event happen. I've noted some below. Perhaps you have others...
What happens to the Java platform and the Java Community Process which helps guide its direction?
  • What happens to the more recent open source efforts that have occurred with Java? Would IBM maintain that direction?
  • What does IBM control of Java mean for all the container providers (BEA, Oracle, JBoss, etc.), tool and API vendors?
  • How does an IBM-led application platform compete with Microsoft?
  • Many have suggested Sun is a company on the ropes. Initial indications are that IBM is willing to pay a bit of a premium for Sun. So what's the purpose of an IBM takeover - to avoid having Java and other Sun technology fall into the wrong hands or to take Java someplace it hasn't been before? If so, where is that?

At this point, many more questions than answers, but we should all stay tuned and on alert. The impact could be big for all of us.

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