Australian IT industry mixed on IBM/Sun speculation

If the acquisition was to eventuate, it would benefit both vendors technically, but local industry players also expressed concern around the two differing business models

Australian IT industry players have expressed mixed reactions to speculation IBM intends to pay as much as $US6.5 billion for Sun Microsystems.

Although the hinted at tie-up would benefit both organisations on a technical level, several channel partners held concerns about the two vendors differing business models and a reduction in customer choice in the market.

Astron Technology managing director, Tony Tziolis, said customers would have the most to lose if the acquisition goes ahead because it cut one more choice out of the market.

“You’ve got to look at where the two companies are going to gain operational efficiencies and part of that is their workforce and addressing their clients,” he claimed. “I don’t think it’s a good thing for Sun, however I’m not up-to-date with their current financial status and reserves, but I would say it’s a good thing in the area of survival.”

Frontline Systems managing director, Steve Murphy, said there were positive and negative aspects to the acquisition if it comes to play. On the positive side, IBM would be armed with good server, storage and software products. On the flip side, both had contrasting business models.

“We’re very much used to dealing the Sun way, which is very nimble and flexible. IBM is a bit more difficult to negotiate your way around. We will see slightly different business models that will take some time getting use to.”

Even though the move is still speculation at this point, it would be interesting to see if IBM was tempted to keep Sun as a separate entity, Express Data managing director, Ross Cochrane, said.

“I think there’s a long way to go before getting any clarity around what their plans or strategy may be,” he said. “Clearly, IBM has a very broad and diverse range of technology and capability already in its portfolio, but Sun also has a lot of innovation they’ve brought to market and expertise in the open source area.”

Meanwhile, Klikon Solutions sales director, David Abouhaidar, saw correlations between the Sun and IBM product portfolios and opportunities for his business.

“It will give them a whole new piece of technology and share of the market, which they weren’t getting,” he said. “If they do incorporate some of the technologies they’ve got, I think it can be quite dangerous in the market place, especially around the high-end Unix and Linux space because Sun has a really good, credible name and IBM has given them a really good challenge with their performance brand, the Pseries.

“If IBM can adopt that [Sun technology] and get it down to a more affordable level, I think it will definitely be shaking some trees.”

For more on this story, check out this week's edition of ARN.

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