The key to it all might be this: IBM might be able to sell Sun's products better than Sun can.
When asked if he thought that statement were true, Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala concurred. "IBM's professional services absolutely should be able to sell Sun's stuff," Kerravala told eWEEK. "Right now, even, they can probably sell Sun better than Sun can."
To be fair, Sun's oft-beleaguered marketing folks have had to take a lot of guff over the years. They've had a much tougher job than most, because many of Sun's innovative and important technologies have been extremely tough to monetize.
Java is the biggest example, along with OpenOffice.org, and all the other open-source products in its catalog. If Java could have brought Sun, say, $5 billion to $10 billion per year in extra revenue since it was launched in 1995, Sun would be in a much better financial position today.
"In the same way Java provides Sun some influence in markets it simply hasn't been able to take advantage of, it offers that influence to IBM now," Pund-IT Principal Analyst Charles King told eWEEK.
IBM has done a better job in selling services related to Linux and other open-source technologies, King said. "Whether or not they can figure out how to monetize Java, I don't know. It's certainly within the realm of possibility," he said.
Cisco Systems already has shown its cards with the launch of its UCS (Unified Computing System), Kerravala said.
"Acquiring Sun would allow IBM to combine Sun's VDI [Virtual Desktop Infrastructure] technology with IBM's strength in servers, storage and professional services, helping them further the vision of what the 'IBM data center' would look like," Kerravala said.
"As we predicted in our [Yankee Group's] 'Introducing Anywhere IT' report, this transformation will reshape the vendor landscape. We expect to see further consolidation with vendors such as Rackable [Systems], Mellanox [Technologies], Brocade and QLogic being logical acquisition candidates as the larger data center vendors jockey for position in the data center," he said.