Cisco may have billions of cash on-hand to make some key acquisitions during the downturn - but don't count on Sun Microsystems to be one of them.
Cisco CEO John Chambers, during a briefing in Seoul, said the company will be "aggressive" during the downturn and will be picking up the pace on its acquisitions, according to a Bloomberg report out of South Korea. But Chambers also noted that it's still eyeing small private companies with market leadership - which isn't Sun.
Most recently, Cisco said last week that it was acquiring privately-held Tidal Software, which makes application management and automation software, for $105 million. The move is expected to enhance Cisco's data center and service offerings.
Sun, which had been seeking buyers and finally got a bite from IBM, saw those talks break down over - of course - money. Whether an IBM-Sun deal can still happen is unclear and remains a topic of discussion for Sun's board.
Jason Hiner, editor-in-chief of ZDNet sister site TechRepublic, said in a post titled "Seven big tech acquisitions to watch for in 2009" that Cisco is more likely to go after VMWare as it pushes into data center virtualization. He wrote:
Cisco wants to go big with virtualization and make it mainstream as quickly as possible in order to use the technology to make data centers more flexible, more manageable, and more energy-efficient. While Microsoft and Citrix have VMware surrounded in the virtualization market, and could use their advantages to undermine VMware, Cisco has deep pockets to help develop the technology, plus a variety of other data center technologies to integrate VMware with, and a powerful marketing engine to promote it.