Feeds

Massive Sun cuts planned as IBM focuses on software trio

Death and the community

Boost IT visibility and business value

If IBM purchases Sun Microsystems - as expected - the fallout will be brutal.

IBM staffers have, according to a Reg source close to the parties, been talking to Sun about its software portfolio and - unsurprisingly - they don't like what they've found: It's not making any money.

IBM's now interested in three Sun software assets: the open-source MySQL database, Java, and Sun's Solaris operating system.

The rest, including all that open-source work Sun's spent years building and hyping, will succumb to that classic of big vendor lingering deaths by being, ahem, "released" to the "community".

A third of Sun's staff, meanwhile, will immediately be cut. This could come through layoffs or the sale of divisions where there is overlap with IBM's existing business.

That would be a huge cut for anyone and much will depend on what is meant by "immediately." However, if it happens, that could see 11,000 Sun employees cut, based on the company's current head count.

Sun declined to comment on what it called "rumors and speculation" while IBM was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

The cuts would be made because the software is very much an afterthought to the deal. IBM is only interested in Sun's hardware business as a way to stop Cisco Systems' recent break through into servers with the release of its California Unified Computing System.

This is of course assuming IBM's deal proceeds in the first place. The Reg understands that while Sun is committed to an agreement, IBM is uncertain - one possible reason why IBM reportedly dropped its proposed purchase price from $10 to $11 per share to $9 to $10.

Currently, a deal is expected during the next week at the latest, although this could slip.

Where would the trio of MySQL, Java, and Solaris fit in the new organization?

MySQL would serve as a low-end business to IBM's DB2, and extend IBM's reach among systems partners, as well as making direct sales to customers. About 40 per cent of MySQL's business is in the OEM market. MySQL would therefore be to the database what Gluecode was to IBM's WebSphere in application servers.

Owning Java would help ensure the platform's continued survival to suit IBM's own goals, while opening up the prospect of revenue from licensing and support of Java with OEMs, ISVs, handset manufacturers, and services providers - the only way Sun's made money on Java.

Solaris would give IBM's Global Services business the opportunity to support and maintain existing customers.

It's likely the remainder of Sun's software would be quietly punted out to the Apache Software Foundation or released under an Apache license. IBM is an experienced backer of both.

One potential winner in this scenario would be Apache's Project Harmony, which is backed by IBM. Harmony's been locked in a long-running disagreement over licensing of test-compatibility kits (TCKs) with spec-lead Sun. Without the TCKs, Apache cannot prove Harmony - an implementation of Java Standard Edition (Java SE) - meets Sun's official compatibility standard.

Apache's Java Community Process (JCP) representative Geir Magnusson Jr recently accused Sun of doing "tremendous damage" to Project Harmony.®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.