Thursday, March 19, 2009

Do You Think IBM Is Really Going to Buy Sun Microsystems?

Although, the proposition of IBM acquiring Sun seems very attractive on the surface, I don't see the acquisition going through due to problems along two lines: Technology and Culture. Let's take a look at each one:

1. Technology related
Each company has a strong suite of products (Sun with SPARC, Solaris, Java, etc. and IBM with System z, AIX, WebSphere, etc.) with a strong following and customer base. These products are different enough to present serious challenges in creating a unified, consistent technology platform in a combined company.

2. Culture related
By far the biggest problem in the merger of two huge companies is going to be integrating the organizations, people, and processes. Ultimately, a dysfunctional culture in the resulting company might outweigh any potential benefits from synergies.

Personally, I always cringe when competition is reduced by M&A. We're seeing what's going on with the banks becoming too big to fail while paradoxically being too big to manage as well. Would IBM + Sun equate to the same?

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