cyberspacial musings
bits about the real and virtual worlds

27 Jun

The Future of Sun and BEA

At a dinner function last night, the discussion of what happens with Sun and BEA came up. Sun is clearly the odd man out in the operating system war between Microsoft and Linux. BEA seems to also be in trouble given the fact that IBM’s WebSphere and Microsoft’s .NET are now poised to battle it out for web application services. So what happens with these two major players?

Here’s my prediction, posted here and dated for a future “I told you so”. IBM and Sun would be a natural fit as Sun begins to figure out what to do with Linux. Sun has developed some terrific hardware and has excellent operating system development capability. This fits naturally with IBM, who is putting Linux on every CPU they can find. IBM’s AIX business has to be trash right now given the SCO lawsuit. IBM’s hardware platforms don’t get the acclaim that Sun’s do. Thus my prediction of a merger between the two. WebSphere and Linux on Sparc could be hot for all parties involved. The hangups? First, Scott McNealy — he has to want to do this. Second, IBM’s anti-trust restrictions — there may be some holdovers from yesteryear that could cause this to be a problem.

What about BEA? I think they need to merge into HP just as soon as HP finishes digesting Compaq. HP acquired Bluestone to be their application server platform but frankly there’s no cache there. With the continued excellent hardware development at HP, more Linux systems on Itanium, they need platform software to really compete and provide an alternative with Microsoft and IBM. BEA should do that for them. For me this is similar to the Sun/Netscape merger years ago — Sun had hardware and needed software to complete the picture — Netscape had software and needed steady market channels. I think BEA could do the same thing for HP.

Remember, if either of these things happen, you heard it here first.

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