A pocket guide to IBM's takeover of Sun Microsystems

March 18, 2009 6:59 PM EDT

Here’s how IBM’s (rumored) acquisition of Sun will unfold.

1. IBM and Sun announce planned merger. IBM’s CEO says something like this to the press: ''This is a decisive move that accelerates our strategy and positions us to win." [Carly Fiorina, the chairwoman and CEO of HP in 2001 on the take over of Compaq.]

2.  IBM gives strong assurances of product support to Sun customers. These customers don’t want love, they want product roadmaps. 

3. IBM gives strong assurances to Java, Open Solaris, MySQL open source development communities that it is committed to open source.  Developers don't want love, they want guarantees.
 
4. Competitors seek to block and delay this merger and appeal to Washington. IBM like AIG is now too big to fail, they argue. Congress holds a hearing or two. Absolutely nothing comes out of any of this.

5. IBM needs to keep Sun's engineering talent. These workers are already on the hunt for VC money. 

6. Layoffs, or stealth reductions. Alliance (at) IBM sends out ‘welcome aboard’ letters.

7. Heightened rumor period (usually reaches its crescendo six months into an acquisition) as sales and service forces go into whisper mode.

8. Bearing nondisclosure agreements for customers to sign, IBM discloses support and product strategy to its new Sun customers.

9. Farewell parties are held for technologies being phased out.

10. Scott McNealy can’t help but to start a new company. 

IBM buying Sun?