I think the fat lady has begun to sing … IBM rejected Sun’s overatures to restart discussions

Yeah, this is sounding more and more like a Yahoo-redux. So who will play the part of Jerry Yang?

According to a report from the Triangle Business Journal,

IBM rebuffed Sun Microsystems’ overtures this week to restart negotiations of a possible purchase by Big Blue of its California rival, CNBC reported.

The journal was summarizing a CNBC report, which I hadn’t seen.

In these cases, played out in public, unless one party gives a good reason for not resuming negotiating, they are basically holding out to see what the other party will sweeten the deal with.

Well …

… it looks like IBM found a good reason not to do this deal.

Santa Clara-based Sun (Nasdaq: JAVA) approached IBM (NYSE: IBM) and indicated that it would be flexible on price, sources told CNBC. But the Armonk, N.Y.-based technology giant no longer is interested in buying Sun because of the possibility of lengthy regulatory reviews worldwide, CNBC said.

Sun said, here’s the sugar. IBM said, nope … not worth the headache.

So who gets the Jerry Yang award for messing up a good opportunity?

Merger talks unraveled earlier this month after Sun’s board unanimously rejected a $7 billion offer from IBM, which responded by withdrawing the bid. Bloomberg reported that Chairman Scott McNealy led a group opposed to the deal and that CEO Jonathan Schwartz led a group that favored it.

I have new respect for Jonathan. He did the right thing. But he lost.

Well, the stockholders now know what they need to do. Which one of these factions was operating in the best interests of the share holders? Which faction do the stockholders need to force off the board? Should be obvious to the reader.

The HPC impact of this failed effort is important. Sun really isn’t an HPC company … they are an enterprise company, and one with lots of baggage, trying to do HPC as an element of their business. Unfortunately, this baggage intrudes on HPC. They prefer their own software kit, though the market doesn’t.

This is unlike SGI, as SGI was mostly bled of value before its collapse, and SGI was a pure HPC play. Not many of these (pure HPC plays) left.

IBM was interested, but once they realized that they’d have to fight a horrific regulatory battle, it became problematic. So when the board faction started playing their games … IBM looked at its options and realized that it really wasn’t worth their time, effort, or money to have to fight legal battles globally just to become the biggest again.

Remember, IBM has a long painful previous history of anti-monopoly battles that it fought to standstill, and eventually accepted a government deal to make them go away.

Why would IBM invite this again? And given that Sun’s board was playing games … with Scott trying as hard as possible to be Jerry Yang, was it worth getting into a protracted battle with them, only to then get into a protracted battle with regulators?

No, IBM made the smart call.

Of course, as John West pointed out

Interesting stuff, with a lot of focus on the high end, but despite the DoD Mod Program???s example, I think I???d wait for the dust to settle before I put tens of millions of dollars into a super from a company that wasn???t sure it wanted to be in business.

Yup. The dust is mostly settled. I don’t think Dr. Frankenstein could revive these discussions.

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