Chances are that Cisco, another cash-rich technology giant, could well swoop in before IBM makes up its mind and buy Sun Microsystems.
Sun 's share value shot through the roof earlier today, gaining nearly 79 percent and finishing at $8.89 after the Wall Street Journal leaked the news of a possible quick takeover.
However, an informal, non-scientific straw poll carried out by Gigaom.com showed that Cisco emerged as the top contender in the race to buy Sun Microsystems. Unlike Yahoo and Microsoft, the company behind Java is a relatively cheaper target that either IBM, HP, Dell or Cisco could acquire.
According to Om Malik, a potential Cisco purchase of Sun Microsystems would give the freshly promoted pipe-layer a full panoply of hardware and software solutions that could help Cisco in its vision of unified and cloud computing.
Sun Microsystems would get Cisco universally recognised brands like Java, MySQL, Open Office or Solaris plus the necessary expertise and know-how to tackle big projects. Cisco, which has around $30 billion in its cash pot, may also bring back some of the best talents in the field including a number of ex-employees.
Furthermore, as Lawrence Walsh from EWeek rightly points out, IBM and Sun Microsystems would have a number of overlapping divisions and the deal would certainly be scrutinised by the antitrust committee. The deal would also harm many of IBM's existing partnerships with NetAPP, Symantec or TIvoli.
Cisco wouldn't certainly draw the same level of scrutiny as the hardware manufacturer market share in areas where Sun Microsystems operates is non existent.
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Wouldn't it be ironic if Apple could come in and buy Sun Microsystems as well. Apple's impact on the corporate, back-end market is negligible. But don't underestimate them. They do sit tight on a huge cash pot and could potentially take on IBM and Cisco.