Global CIO: Hewlett-Packard Recruits Microsoft To Raid Sun's Customers

HP plus Microsoft, Red Hat and Novell are trying to pull leery CIOs away from Sun before the Oracle deal closes.
In spite of Sun's feisty and commendable efforts to fight back, Sun is in and will remain in a terribly exposed lame-duck position until the bureaucrats of the European Union complete their glacial-paced review of Oracle's bid to acquire Sun. That decision is expected later this month, and whatever verdict turns out to be, it can't possibly come soon enough for Sun if it hopes to be able to ward off further incursions into its customer base from not just IBM and HP but also, as described above, the alliances those two companies are forming with other industry partners that now include Microsoft, Red Hat, and Novell.

For example, here's how HP is positioning its new leave-Sun-and-join-us alliance with Microsoft: "HP’s more than 23,000 Microsoft-trained professionals continuously work with Microsoft on design, engineering testing and support to provide customers a smooth transition to HP-based solutions. . . . The new releases of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and upcoming release of SQL Server 2008 R2 deliver enhanced scalability, helping enable customers to easily consolidate workloads and reduce total cost of ownership. "

A few months ago, Larry Ellison said publicly that Sun was losing $100 million a month, and the company has had to shed many hundreds of jobs. The latest efforts by HP, Microsoft and others to continue peeling away Sun customers are perfectly legitimate and justified, and will no doubt continue until either (a) Oracle gains EU approval to complete the deal, or (b) Oracle drops its bid and Sun is left to try to survive on its own or to find a new suitor.

For CIOs, it seems like a perfect opportunity to hammer out some terrific deals with a major vendor of your choice: HP and IBM are incredibly safe and stable companies, while Sun might within just a few weeks be able to begin integrating its businesses, products, technologies, and operations with those of Oracle, itself an extremely safe and stable company.

While Sun customers certainly face some risk in deciding to stick with Sun and bet that the Oracle deal goes through, the payoff could be significant as Oracle—perfectly aware of how voraciously HP and IBM will continue to go after Sun accounts—will have every possible incentive to lavish superb treatment on those hearty holdouts.

Yes indeed, a rich and diverse buyer's market—ain't free-market competition grand??


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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

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