IBM CFO Mark Loughridge fielded the inevitable question about Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Loughridge did the conference call equivalent of a shoulder shrug. "What's really changed? I think nothing," said Loughridge.
That take was quite a contrast to what Oracle chief Larry Ellison said earlier Monday. According to Ellison, Oracle's acquisition of Sun "transforms the IT industry."
Loughridge (right), speaking on the company's earnings conference call, said that IBM has been competing with Sun and Oracle for years and the only thing that will really change is the address for Sun. "We've been competing against them for some time and winning in the field," said Loughridge.
His big data point was that IBM's System p product line gained 4 points of market share in the first quarter. That line, which features AIX and Linux operating system servers, competes directly with Sun. IBM also said that it gained share in branded middleware in a swipe at Oracle.
The Big Blue CFO also noted that IBM has completed more than 100 acquisitions since 2000 and spent $20 billion on buying companies. "We generate substantial free cash flow and have a lot of flexibility" to spend on internal investments, dividends, share buybacks and acquisitions.
Loughridge said that IBM had a "strong and very disciplined" process to evaluate acquisitions. You could interpret that to mean that the Sun deal didn't make the cut for IBM.