Apple-Sun Deal Unlikely

John Dvorak is floating the rumor that Apple is about to take over Sun.

John Dvorak is floating the rumor that Apple is about to take over Sun.

Apple would want Sun, he thinks, because Sun has a place in the server market, one which might expand under Andy von Bechtolsheim.

Sun, meanwhile, would get out with its shirt. Its market cap, under $18 billion, is less than one-third that of Apple.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt would midwife the deal, Dvorak says, which is why he went onto the Apple board.

But color me skeptical. It's very possible Schmidt is on that board for other reasons. Like Google wants Schmidt out of the house while it deals with the hodgepodge of me-too "innovations" he has allowed to drain Google's resources. Like having the Google CEO on the board (Google is currently worth $116 billion, twice Apple's valuation) is a coup for Apple, giving it online cachet it hasn't gotten past iTunes.

An Apple-Sun deal, midwifed by Google, would be a major blow against open source, I believe. While Apple's OS X is based on BSD Unix, and Sun's CDDL license is even more restrictive, Sun's commitment to open source is increasingly welcome. Apple, by contrast, might as well be Microsoft.

Of course, Wall Street will eat this up. Nothing they like better than putting 1+1 together and getting 1, which they sell to the suckers as 3. Although if it did happen, I'd bet Jonathan Schwartz would be allowed to unleash his ponytail. (To Schwartz admirers, that last is a joke from a jealous old baldy.)

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