Dvorak: Does Apple’s board addtion of Google’s Schmidt portend Apple-Sun merger?

“As soon as Google CEO Eric Schmidt was named to the board of directors at Apple some mild speculation ensued suggesting that he’d eventually become CEO of Apple. After all, Schmidt, unlike many other high-profile CEOs, is not one to join every board that has an opening,” John C. Dvorak writes for MarketWatch.

“In fact Schmidt may have been brought in as the set-up pitcher for what may finally be the often rumored merger between Apple and Sun Schmidt would quietly be Sun’s inside man on the negotiations although technically he’s be a neutral party since he doesn’t actually work for Sun,” Dvorak writes.

Dvorak writes, “His executive training began at Sun and he is still close to the company and its founders. Being the CEO at Google, a somewhat goofy high-energy creative company, should enable him to handle the Apple side of things.”

“In the past the deals have always fallen apart before they began because (among other reasons) the combined companies would not have an acceptable CEO. Neither Scott McNealy nor Steve Jobs nor John Sculley nor Mike Spindler (not to mention Gil Amelio) seemed capable of handling a combined operation,” Dvorak writes. “With today’s two CEO’s, Steve Jobs at Apple and Jonathan Schwartz at Sun, this continues to be true. But with Eric Schmidt in the game as a middleman it’s quite possible that he could take the reins of such a combined operation and make it work.”

“Apple is looking to make a splash in the server market to solidify its position there, but it does not have the credibility of a Dell, HP, IBM or a Sun despite the quality of its offerings, and it would love to grow that very profitable side of the business,” Dvorak writes. “And the big change in Steve Jobs has to be noted. In doing the deal to merge Pixar with Disney, thus making him the top Disney shareholder, Jobs may have gotten the M&A itch. Could he do a big deal again? Is he now thinking he could become a dealmaker?”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Interesting speculation (from Dvorak, no less) precipitated by Schmidt’s arrival on Apple’s board. One question springs immediately to mind: Is Apple really “looking to make a splash in the server market?” Sure, Apple offers excellent servers, but they haven’t been very aggressive to date? What would Sun really add to Apple? Still, according to Bill Joy, Sun and Apple almost merged three times in the past. What do you think, is it really “Snapple Time” this time?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Video: Dvorak admits to baiting Apple Mac users for hits – June 10, 2006

Google CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt joins Apple’s Board of Directors – August 29, 2006
Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard gets Sun’s DTrace – August 08, 2006
Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy steps down – April 25, 2006
Snapple? Bill Joy: Sun and Apple almost merged three times – January 12, 2006
Enderle: maybe it’s time for Apple and Sun to merge – August 10, 2004
LinuxInsider: Apple ‘needs to hop into bed with Sun’ – July 08, 2004
Microsoft and Sun enter into ‘unholy alliance’ aginst IBM, Linux – April 02, 2004
Internet Week: Sun’s McNealy should ‘buy a Mac or better yet, buy Apple’ – September 22, 2003
Sun and Apple, Apple and Sun; could it ever happen? – August 07, 2003
Sun VP of Software: practically every Sun employee owns an Apple desktop at home – August 06, 2003

40 Comments

  1. Sun is being squeezed and the last thing Apple needs is to buy a niche player under heavy market pressure from much larger rivals. Solaris is just another flavor of UNIX, something Apple already has a good handle on.

    The only real value would be ownership of Java, the Patent portfolio of Sun and a large number of in-house developers familiar with UNIX. The rest is just dead weight.

  2. Sun’s current market cap is $17 Billion and declining, as it has been for the past 6 or so years.

    If there is a viable synergy between the two firms (I don’t see it), Apple would buy them. The clostset thing to a synergy between teh two firms that could possibly exist is UNIX. Sun has a very professional sales force pushing Solaris workstations and servers. Having a UNIX desktop (Apple is the world’s largest shipper of UNIX baed comp0uters of any kind) could provide Apple with an entry to the enterprise.

    But frankly, Apple has its own workstations and servers, Sun doesn’t bring much to the table here. Not $17,000,000 worth anyway. And for that amount Apple could develop a killer sales force.

    Nope I just don’t see it. Nothing has changed about Dvorak. His knowledge of teh tech world ranges from poor to non-existent.

  3. It’s unlikely, but intriguing. Sun certainly has a position in corporations that Apple could use to advantage. Sun is a very capable company, technically. Sun’s Niagara architecture is said to be the paradigm for Intel’s new core architecture and direction, which Apple is obviously signed on to. But getting the two teams to work together is extremely risky. And I just can’t imagine Steve Jobs taking any job where he is second fiddle. Now, a merger with Steve running the whole show — hmmmmm.

  4. The three previous times this merger was mooted it was Sun purchasing Apple. Not this time.

    True, Sun is “beleaguered” these days, but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot of value there. Their intellectual property/patent portfolio is huge. And as much as we love MacOS, you can make a strong case for Solaris being a better OS. Sun has long wanted to provide an end to end solution, from the desktop through the enterprise, but they conceded the desktop market to Microsoft long ago. They’re still competitive in the server space. I believe Apple could pull this off if they had Sun’s assets and really put their minds to it.

  5. What the hell does the world’s leader in digital media want/need/have-anything-to-do-with old and busted Sun who’se last gift to computing was an over-hyped “platform independent” Java 10+ years ago?

  6. Whoever is saying Apple and Sun do not have synergy is an idiot. Both companies use their UNIX operating sytems to move hardware. Apple only uses OS X and its features to sell hardware much like Sun does with Solaris. Yes Sun has a low anual profit but its making money almost completely off of its servers. If Apple is even thinking of going up against the IBM server powerhouse, they must make some major changes in their server marketing. Sun offers the abbility and the infrastrucure to provide Apple with said changes. And along with Sun comes an entire open source community that developes Solaris.

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