The news today about IBM and Sun possibly going separate ways leaves a door open for others to dodge what could have been a pretty blockbuster combination. I remember back in late 90's how cool Java was and what it meant for Sun. Unfortunately, the heavily engineer-driven culture at Sun kept what could have been a dominant computing pioneer from realizing its potential. IBM, meanwhile learned the lesson of having business process and financial discipline govern ideas to make sure they are realized. Sun still has some brilliant engineers and IBM certainly has a handle on how to build an integrated global supply chain. The coolness of Java, plus a $3B+ R&D organization, and a hub of talent in the vital San Francisco bay area makes Sun a plum for someone like IBM.
If the breakup holds who wins? How about Hewlett Packard. Not only is H-P a titan on the scale of IBM (actually bigger), it is also great at running an integrated global supply chain (see Tony Prophet of H-P explain what they do at our upcoming conference) and positioned to do alot with Java and the R&D pool by applying it to a huge range of consumer and business computing applications. A similar argument can easily be made for Cisco Systems.
If cooler heads prevail the IBM-Sun combo will go ahead. There wasn't much keeping the two sides apart over the weekend and the logic of the deal for IBM includes a lot of potential benefit for IBM customers looking for better systems links - a solid stream of profit opportunity that Big Blue has to like.