Friday, March 20, 2009

Is Sun worth US$6 Billion?

With IBM ($IBM) in talks to buy Sun ($JAVA), can the latter finally find a place to rest? The market has been disappointed with Sun. It has failed to invigorate itself. It has failed to capitalize on its amazing potential and awesome technology pedigree. And it seems that this once mighty enterprise is but a shadow of its former self.

The times of course have changed. Competition in server space is tighter than ever and choice is just as aggressive. It may be this is where once and former giants come to rest--- on the graveyard of Mergers and Acquisitions.

Several months back, I wrote a post "Sun Looses 17B, Time for Apple-Sun merger?" The technology that is with Sun ($JAVA) isn't so bad. Its open source stable of technologies: mysql, zfs, just to name two are worth a lot of money. ZFS could in fact be the answer to a future media server or could compliment Apple's Final Cut Studio. But the fact that ZFS is licensed under CDDL effectively means no one needs to own the company that started it. The same goes with mysql.

Since Apple isn't at all interested in higher order enterprise business--- its focus on pro-consumer/consumer space is laser focus makes little sense for them to get to buy Sun. Well, little sense to be willing to pay a hundred percent premium.

Also the threats facing ZFS on the technology horizon is increasing. An alternative to ZFS called Btrfs ("Butter FS") has emerge on Linux space and is under heavy development. And Btrfs is in fact more friendly to Linux because it runs off GPL. This licensing disagreement has, in my humble opinion been most detrimental in getting ZFS technology to become prevalent everywhere.

The marriage of IBM and Sun is perhaps the best fit in the technology business. Sun closed on March 19 with a market cap of US$6.43 Billion. Is Sun worth that much money?

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