HP and Sun expand partnership...what about a merger?

Hewlett-Packard and Sun will announce details of "their newly expanded partnership agreement" Wednesday morning. Might this be a step towards a merger?

Hewlett-Packard and Sun will announce details of "their newly expanded partnership agreement" Wednesday morning. Might this be a step towards a merger?

I've long been a proponent of a HP/Sun combination, there are some strong synergies such as:

+Both have strong (and green) datacenter technologies. They could dominate cloud computing.

+HP would get Sun’s range of SPARC systems and an impressive future technology road map for SPARC microprocessors. This is a great challenger to IBM and its proprietary 64-bit Power microprocessor architecture. Margins on proprietary hardware are four to five times better than on industry-standard systems.

+HP would gain from Sun’s large accounts in financial services and telecoms. These sectors are huge IT spenders.

+Sun needs a much stronger services arm, and HP has a strong IT services group.

+HP would gain Sun’s middleware, v.important against IBM’s WebSphere middleware. Middleware software has a very high profit margin.

+Both companies could consolidate their computer labs.

+Sun’s Java technologies have consumer electronics and mobile phone applications and momentum.

The cultures of the two companies are the largest obstacle because they strongly conditioned to see each other as the "enemy." But this could be turned around and IBM could become the enemy that unites them. It could become a West Coast versus East Coast thing.

Granted, IT buyers will have fewer options, which isn't a good thing.