By David H. Andrews
IBM ended up wasting a great deal of time and management energy looking into Sun only to have their offer rejected. As interesting as a combination of the two companies might have been, it is probably the best thing for IBM and its customers. Acquiring large businesses is never easy and the odds of success are historically low. When the fit is iffy in the first place the odds drop further.
According to the real experts, the price IBM was willing to offer was not large enough to get past Sun’s board. Apparently Sun founder Scott McNealy (a famously colorful IBM basher over the years) could not stomach the thought of having letting his creation go at a fire sale price. Sadly, it may well have been the best option his customers and shareholders will see.
A juicy but likely unfounded Internet rumor last week had Oracle and HP bidding to break Sun into pieces that could be divided up nicely with Oracle gaining control over Java. Something of this sort will now likely be Sun’s fate.
For JDE customers it is probably fine that IBM can now get back to work refining its already very broad product line to better meet our needs. Even though IBM will not gain control over Java it still owes us a reasonable transition path away from OS/400 RPG to something open and sustainable. If Sun is eventually broken into pieces IBM could still somehow increase the degree to which it acts as a leader of the Java movement. No matter what, IBM and Oracle will continue to fight for that right. A clear victory by one of them would make it easier for those still maintaining RPG code to decide what to do next.
As always, your comments, opinions and questions on this will be welcomed.