I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner -- see the full article for details. What I believe will happen next: if IBM believes it has a green light for the acquisition, and puts a formal offer on the table, Oracle (perhaps in partnership with HP) will ultimately win a bidding war for Sun. Either way, it’s the end of Sun as we’ve known it.
International Business Machines Corp. is in talks to buy Sun Microsystems Inc., people familiar with the matter said, a combination that would bolster IBM's heft on the Internet, in software and in finance and telecommunications markets.
The two companies have a common interest in that both make computer systems for corporate customers that aren't reliant on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software, and their product lines are less dependant than rivals' on Intel Corp.'s microprocessor technologies. The two companies are also strong supporters of open-source Linux and Java software.