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Silence Making People Nervous in Impending IBM-Sun Deal

There's been a Cone of Silence for a week now around the impending IBM acquisition of Sun Microsystems. When such a mystery takes place, people get nervous. We're just so used to things happening now and in real time that we often take our eyes off the prize far too quickly.

Well, this deal just isn't going to happen as soon as people originally thought. Sun still has an IP lawsuit on the books around ZFS (Zettabyte File System for open storage) going against NetApp, and those details have to be worked out to the possible new owner's satisfaction. There are many customized licensing arrangements to iron out with customers who have both IBM and Sun products and services under SLA.

In short, there are a lot of complications to such an acquisition, so the lawyers are in the driver's seat at the moment.

That being said, there are rumors now surfacing about the deal, as one might expect. The latest, which came to me from a Wall Street source today, claims that "IBM has finished its due diligence and has decided to move on." My industry sources -- and they are very good ones -- don't believe this, nor do I.

"This is to be expected when no news is happening," the Wall Streeter said. "People start getting nervous when it's 'too' quiet. The stock dropped like 50 cents just on this today. This is a highly volatile situation: It's like kindling waiting for a match to strike."

Could be that someone's trying to take advantage of the quiet spell and is attempting to drive the Sun stock down. That part has already worked to an extent.

Another rumor is that Sun is trying to drive the price up during these final furious days because it believes that the Java franchise is undervalued. That may indeed be true; Java is so ubiquitous in the Internet and in enterprise systems that it is easily taken for granted, much like XML. Take Java away, folks, and you will really notice it in your daily work, believe me.

Bottom line? We'll stay on the phone; you keep checking back here at eWEEK.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...