Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
IBM Databases Java Programming Software Sun Microsystems IT

What an IBM-Sun Merger Might Mean For Java, MySQL, Developers 292

Posted by timothy
from the get-our-your-auguring-tools dept.
An IBM-Sun merger is a tantalyzing possibility; snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister suggests that an IBM/Sun merger could crown Big Blue king of enterprise software development. 'Acquiring Sun would make IBM the clear leader in Java, as it would become the caretaker of the open source reference implementation of the JRE,' which, along with GlassFish, would become entry-level gateways to IBM's WebSphere stack. Moreover, MySQL would give IBM's database division a significant entry-level hook, and NetBeans/Eclipse would unify IBM's front against Visual Studio. 'All in all, this move would solidify IBM's role as "the developer company,"' McAllister writes. 'In other words, if this merger goes through and you're an enterprise developer and you're not an IBM customer now, get ready — because you soon will be. Better bring your wallet.'" And blackbearnh writes with a short interview with Brian Aker (who came to Sun as MySQL's director of architecture, and is now the lead for MySQL fork Drizzle) about what life would be like under Big Blue's control.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

What an IBM-Sun Merger Might Mean For Java, MySQL, Developers

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 26, 2009 @03:33PM (#27346599)

    IBM

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 26, 2009 @03:35PM (#27346621)

    The company culture between Sun and IBM are too different for a successful merger. The trend that anything big blue acquires seem to die a slow and agonizing death isn't helping either.

  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @03:39PM (#27346711)

    The trend that anything big blue acquires seem to die a slow and agonizing death isn't helping either. [citation needed]

    I haven't heard about the trend lately. IBM seems to be doing generally pretty well.

  • Too big to fail. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tthomas48 (180798) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @03:45PM (#27346819) Homepage

    Have we learned nothing from the recent "too big to fail" mess? I realize IBM is already too big to fail, but do we want to let them add to it? Sun failing would be fine for the market. Lots of small companies would jump in to take its place. Sun being bought by IBM would stifle the marketplace and would exert far too much control.

    Sometimes to have a free-ish market we have to think about unpleasant topics like anti-trust.

  • by Neil Watson (60859) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @03:52PM (#27346909) Homepage

    The transition to Notes alone is likely to send Sun talent running for the hills.

  • by javacowboy (222023) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @03:53PM (#27346931)

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

    IBM will take all of Sun's great software products, and either ruin or kill them through a combination of strategic imperative, incompetence, and bureaucracy.

    Say goodbye to Netbeans. IBM doesn't want competition to Eclipse.

    Watch OpenSolaris get pillaged for bits like ZFS and DTrace to GPL and put in Linux and then left in the ditch (though I don't think they'll kill closed-source Solaris).

    Glassfish will survive only because it already has a large independent community, despite IBM cutting off funding for it.

    Java will take twice as long to evolve, as IBM's bureaucracy will dwarf that of the JCP's. Swing will be slowly killed, to be replaced by SWT. As for Websphere, it's known to break the JEE spec, and indicates the direction IBM will take Java in.

    OpenOffice, right now not the cleanest, most user friendly app, will worsen if Lotus Symphony is anything to go by.

    IBM pays good lip service to open source, and contributes o some strategic projects (ex Apache Harmony), but their true commitment to open source is much less than that of Sun's. That's what the Linux crowd sometimes fails to understand.

  • by The Hooloovoo (78790) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @03:53PM (#27346941)

    Online petitions work on companies like Facebook because pleasing as many random people as possible is their business model. A Web 2.0 company's product is its users. Nobody pays for Facebook as an end user -- the people paying for Facebook are paying for your ad views, marketing data, etc.

    IBM and Sun shareholders, on the other hand, couldn't give less of a hoot about your feelings. Companies buy software based on a number of factors, but these factors always tie back to the bottom line. Are you going to stop visiting your favorite website because it would be using "IBM Glassfish" instead of "Sun Glassfish"?

  • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @03:56PM (#27346979) Journal

    OK. I voted. "No".

    Sorry, I've never been very impressed by Sun, and to be honest, for the longest time, I had better luck with IBMs JVM. Given the choice (and my prior experience), I'll take an IBM product over a Sun product any day.

    Then again, I also have had a Mac and went back, as your sig mentions, so maybe I've just had different experiences, and have different priorities.

  • Pipedream??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by syousef (465911) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @04:04PM (#27347109) Journal

    I see this story has been tagged "Pipedream". I don't know what kind of pipe people are smoking these days, but to me it doesn't sound like any kind of pleasant or desirable dream to have one company in control of so many things we depend on...even more so during an economic downturn.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @04:06PM (#27347151)

    NetBeans/Eclipse would unify IBM's front against Visual Studio.

    I hope Netbeans don't become the mess that Eclipse is threatening to become. The multiple distributions, the commercial only plugins, UI inconsistencies, and instability.

    I know the Eclipse fanboys will object, but I've used both IDEs and Eclipse has its issues and feels like it was built by a committee consisting of competitors.

    With Netbeans, I don't have to worry about CDT not meshing with the current patched version of the platform, or having to choose between Subclipse or Subversive and trying to get past that stupid Java HL issue with Ubuntu. Netbeans just works.

    Nothing against Eclipse, I just don't want any of that crap to migrate over to Netbeans.

    Then there's IBM history other editors like XyWrite...

  • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @04:08PM (#27347173) Journal

    Say goodbye to Netbeans. IBM doesn't want competition to Eclipse.

    Why? It doesn't compete with eclipse now. I've used modern and 2 year old installs of eclipse, and my last netbeans install was less than 6 months ago.

    Swing will be slowly killed, to be replaced by SWT. As for Websphere, it's known to break the JEE spec, and indicates the direction IBM will take Java in.

    Good riddance. Most swing based applications I have had the misfortune of using, have failed miserably at being cross platform, regardless of Sun or IBM JVM. Even if SWT is worse in that regard, it doesn't matter, because I've given up on swing as far as making any reliable cross platform app. Replacing one thing that is not sufficiently useful with another, well, I could care less.

    OpenOffice, right now not the cleanest, most user friendly app, will worsen if Lotus Symphony is anything to go by.

    I think this is the first thing I can truely agree on. I certainly would not want to see OO disappear or be so defiled.

  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @04:09PM (#27347207)

    IBM will take all of Sun's great software products, and either ruin or kill them through a combination of strategic imperative, incompetence, and bureaucracy.

    Isn't that Sun's job?

  • by javacowboy (222023) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @04:11PM (#27347239)

    Isn't that Sun's job?

    Justify that statement.

  • by monkeyboythom (796957) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @04:43PM (#27347793)
    LAYOFFS!
  • Isn't that Sun's job?

    Sun's job is to have one of the worst marketing departments known to man. They create some really great stuff, and many of their strategic acquisitions benefit amazingly well under their umbrella. (e.g. OpenOffice, NetBeans, StorageTek, etc.)

    What Sun fails miserably at is selling their products. On one hand, they give everything long, complex, and confusing names. Like "Sun Java System Directory Service", formerly "SunONE Directory Server", formerly "iPlanet Directory Server", formerly "Netscape Directory Server". Then they take this confusing pile of BS directly to executives. Now executives aren't necessarily stupid people. But if you're expecting them to wade through your piles of BS to understand what it is their buying, you've already failed. Throw in a bit of inconsistent pricing across the board to where the IT guy actually buying the stuff has no idea what price he's going to pay, and you've got a recipe for dissatisfaction.

    Sun needs to learn how to market and how to sell. More to the point, they need to pay more attention to the smaller markets and stop trying to out-IBMing IBM. IBM is better at it. Try out-Delling Dell. Sun was on the right track with their "Hotter than Hell" campaign, but they gave up before it ever came to fruition!

    Which is another thing that tees me off. When Sun DOES get it right, they kill it off before they give it a chance to work. Then they go back to their old ways, and probably tell themselves what a fiasco THAT marketing campaign turned out to be. :-/

  • by samkass (174571) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @05:04PM (#27348245) Homepage Journal

    Dunno about the original poster, but my biggest problem is that it doesn't integrate with Perforce very well. That makes it completely a non-starter. Integration with version control is one of the top-5 tasks any IDE needs to do and in Netbeans it seems like an afterthought.

    After that, Sun embracing OSGi and other de-facto industry standards instead of always re-inventing the wheel would be nice. We really didn't need yet another attempt at a Java application platform.

    And JavaFX support? Who actually cares about JavaFX? It's a DOA technology.

    The nice thing about IBM taking over is that IBM seems to have a MUCH better sense about what actual non-Sun developers like.

  • Bad for java... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 26, 2009 @05:05PM (#27348269)

    IBM loves java, but that doesn't mean IBM is good for java. IBM is a slow lumbering beast, java's inability to innovate has hurt it enough already. The acquisition process alone will delay java a few years.

  • by Tanktalus (794810) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @05:06PM (#27348275) Journal

    Apparently, IBM wants that business back.

    Seriously, IBM didn't buy Sequent for Sequent. They bought it for NUMA. And that lives on in AIX (can't recall if it's iSeries or pSeries or both).

    I'm trying to recall something that IBM has bought that died when IBM wanted the technology to live (as opposed to ransacking the company for technology and/or patents to integrate into other products). Lotus? Still alive and kicking (no matter how much some want it to die). Rational? Yup - even displaced some of IBM's software (ClearCase displaced IBM's CMVC). Cognos? Too new to tell. Informix? Still alive and kicking even though that one obviously is something IBM bought to ransack.

    I suspect IBM is looking to buy Sun for Java and OpenOffice (which they're already rebranding as Lotus Symphony), and getting MySQL would be considered a freebie. This makes sense when you realise that IBM is still a little sore about losing the PC OS war, and are doing everything they can to combat Microsoft (e.g., pledging not to pursue patent claims against open-source software, defending Linux against SCO). Java is still seen as a platform to make desktop OS irrelevant, and OpenOffice is a direct attack on Microsoft's other main source of income. Cripple those two aspects of MS, and you've crippled all of MS.

  • by Rasputin (5106) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @05:17PM (#27348453) Homepage

    "The company culture between Sun and IBM are too different for a successful merger."

    Success: [n] Chomp, chomp, gulp.

    Just ask the former employees of Sequent, Informix, or Rational.

  • by rackserverdeals (1503561) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @05:22PM (#27348551) Homepage Journal

    You do realize that that is just a list of projects they contribute too. It gives no indication of the level of contributions. A lot of those contributions are patches to make sure the projects can work with IBM hardware and software.

    Not saying there contributions are meaningless, but I don't think anyone can reasonably argue that IBM has contributed more to open source than Sun.

    IBM might open source a less powerful version or maybe a pet project, while Sun will go out, buy a company and open source the technology.

    That's a big deal, especially considering the relative size and financial power differences between the two.

  • by Rasputin (5106) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @05:22PM (#27348553) Homepage

    "For those out there that think this is a good thing, try to navigate IBM's website."

    Yeah, too bad Sun's pages suck equally badly. As much as possible, I've always used Google to search either one.

  • by thanasakis (225405) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @05:34PM (#27348751)

    Bare with me for a moment.

    Sun is full of PhDs, patents and interesting technologies and I think their corporate culture is much more close to Apple than to IBM. They have a fairly decent server product line with competitive prices, a host of enterprise contracts all over the world and an excellent OSS "server" OS which is still being developed heavily. They have a solid 64-bit RISC architecture coupled with energy efficient multicore processors that give even the best x86 chips a run for their money. Not to mention their storage strategy which is, IMHO, brilliant. ZFS, StorageTek, Lustre, fishworks [sun.com], mysql all fall into a strategy of acquisitions and development that was commenced several years ago. Has it started yielding financial results yet? Arguably not quite. Was it spot-on? Hell yes. Storage has come and it will be big. The bad economic conditions make their financial problems worse, but it's not like they didn't give their best.

    Apple could really use them to buy its way into the Enterprise. They have already ported dtrace and zfs to MacOSX, demonstrating that a lot of technologies can be used outside of Sun products with success. Considering the stockpile of cash they're sitting on, it would not really be a problem for Apple to buy them. With their combined strength (heard that one before, right?) they could really be a dangerous adversary for IBM, HP and Microsoft.

    Well, if that isn't a pipe dream, then what is?

  • by rackserverdeals (1503561) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @06:20PM (#27349565) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure that Sun's in such a bad position that they might need a buyout.

    Things aren't great right now. They've been cash flow positive for a while up until 2008. That was a big deal considering the beating they've been taking.

    They have a decent amount of cash. Some of their acquisitions may take time to pay off. MySQL, I'm not too sure that was worth 1Bln.

    The strategy Schwartz has takes a big investment and will take time to realize the financial benefits. Right now, with everything going on, it may take longer to realize the financial benefits, but the same conditions also make the acceptance of open source platforms more attractive so it could help spur developer involvement with Sun technologies.

    They may not buy the support or the high margin hardware right now, but in a year or two as the company starts realizing the benefits of using Sun's open source stack, they might pick up support contracts and hardware. Maybe even some of their consulting services. If not, then they become a success story they can use in marketing.

    Sun's big margin customers seem to be in the financial sector and we all know how that sector is doing. Their lower end servers have much lower profit margins. In that space, they have to compete with Dell, and they do pretty well on price. But if you need to scale vertically, you don't have as many options. If you want a big box for your application you also want Solaris on it too. It's the only OS on midrange servers that's worth looking at IMO.

    I'm not sure Sun needs to be bought, but whoever does, if they handle the merger properly, would be getting one hell of a deal.

  • by ishobo (160209) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @06:32PM (#27349789)

    There is bad blood between Jobs and McNealy (who is still chairman). I agree though, a merger between Apple and Sun would be better because nothing they have overlaps. Apple picks up enterprise software and hardware, which they clearly lack. They also would get a global services group. Although Sun is not profitable, they have little debt and $2.5 billion on hand.

  • Sun Ray technology (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amirulbahr (1216502) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @06:55PM (#27350115)
    Would be interesting to find out what IBMs plans for Sun Ray are. Desktop virtualisation is an area that Sun excels in at the moment.
  • by ZxCv (6138) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @08:59PM (#27351553) Homepage

    ... Visual Studio sucks compared to Eclipse when it comes to how user-friendly the tool is.

    Do you actually use both on a regular basis?

    I've honestly never met someone that does that prefers Eclipse.

    I use Visual Studio, XCode, and Eclipse, on a daily basis, and as far as I'm concerned, Visual Studio is just about the only thing Microsoft has ever done right, and beats the hell out of any other IDE I've ever used.

  • by tthomas48 (180798) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @09:38PM (#27351863) Homepage

    I think you bring up the fact that there are two facets to Sun. There's hardware and there's their services division. How important you think Sun is to the ecosystem seems to revolve more around whether you're a sysadmin or developer. Most of us developers don't even think about Sun as developing hardware. Most of the SysAdmins don't seem to think of Sun as the controlling force behind Java.

No user-servicable parts inside. Refer to qualified service personnel.

Working...