#1: Microsoft should buy Red Hat.
Yeah, right, I know, and the Yankees should merge with the Red Sox. Five years ago, Microsoft steadfastly refused to help its enterprise customers integrate Windows environments with Linux—at the time, Microsoft was perfectly willing to let its own competitive battles spill over into integration problems for customers. But in the past six months, Microsoft has shown many signs of having become a very, very different kind of company: all-in with cloud computing, revamped SMB applications, and much less of a "not my problem" attitude toward customers who need to manage and optimize heterogeneous environments. Microsoft has the potential to be an absolute top-tier enterprise player, but it will need to extend beyond just Windows—as wonderful and pervasive as Windows is—if it wants to achieve that potential. And if you think it's just not existentially possible for Microsoft and an open-source Linux company to coexist let alone cohabitate, let me remind you of that other big software company that's learning to play nice in the open-source sandbox: Oracle. Plus, if Oracle can do it, then any company—even Microsoft—can do it. Also, a deal like this for Microsoft would prove to CIOs that Microsoft is now willing to put customer needs on equal footing with Microsoft's own desires.
So those are my 10 suggestions for industry-rocking deals in the IT space, and as I was writing this I'll admit to being more than a little nervous as some wise words of Abraham Lincoln kept rolling through my head: "It is better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and resolve all doubt."
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Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.
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