IBM + Sun: Too Late For Open Source? - InformationWeek
Software // Operating Systems
05:21 PM

IBM + Sun: Too Late For Open Source?

Anything IBM could acquire from Sun's existing open source portfolio, it could develop on its own or buy more cost effectively from another vendor, analysts suggest.

While IBM's open source strategies could benefit from an acquisition of Sun Microsystems, industry observers believe such a deal would have had more strategic value a few years ago.

Reports that IBM is in talks to buy Sun for $6.5 billion in cash set off a firestorm of skepticism, debate, and handwringing from software experts who worry what will happen to Sun's open source projects if the deal goes through.

Some believe that anything IBM could acquire from Sun's existing open source portfolio, it could develop on its own or buy more cost effectively from another vendor.

"If IBM wants to meaningfully change their open source strategy they can do it on their own. They could open source some elements of DB2, or more aggressively throw its weight behind any number of open source projects involving Apache or SOA," said Dana Gardner, president and principal analyst with Interarbor Solutions.

Gardner and other observers said however, that one product IBM could benefit from is Sun's MySQL open source database software. They said an acquisition also could potentially play an important role in any proposed cloud computing strategy the companies might come up with.

"If IBM pursues this deal with Sun just for this idea of creating an open cloud, it would be worth it. They [Sun] could become a full service provider for open cloud solutions because it has all the components including MySQL and Java, said Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange.

Laguna said as recently as Monday he was discussing Sun's potential role in establishing an open source-based cloud with Sun's CTO Greg Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos was uncharacteristically terse in his communication with Laguna about Sun's plans in that area, which is more understandable given the reports about the acquisition surfacing Wednesday.

Laguna added that IBM could also benefit from acquiring MySQL because it would give Big Blue a low end offering that could protect its flank against lower-end open source competitors nipping away at its DB2 business.

"[MySQL] could give IBM a way to maintain its high-margin products while not losing customers to these lower end offerings. Having something that is open source underneath the proprietary products is a good idea," Laguna said.

1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll