From an Undisclosed Location


Scott McNealy's current office at Sun MicrosystemsSomewhere, the team of guards that has been keeping Scott McNealy gagged and under lock and key in recent years has been doubled and they’ve taken to sedating him to ensure he doesn’t pop off about the prospect of IBM buying Sun and perhaps prevent Sun from being put out of their (and our) misery through acquisition.

The ever pointed McNealy had some subtle insights on mergers and acquisitions.  Two that pop to mind:

  • On the merger between HP and Compaq: “Two garbage trucks backing into each other in slow motion.”
  • On Unisys, a merger of mainframe also-rans Sperry and Burroughs, whose slogan was The Power of Two: “That’s about their stock price!”

I’m sure he has had some fine IBM barbs as well over the years but I can’t recall any (probably because we were to busy ducking his incoming fire at Microsoft to appreciate well-aimed shots at others).  Anyone remember any choice Scott lines about IBM?  An IBM takeover of Sun would undoubtedly be a long and protracted process so we need some choice color quotes to be repeated in every story for the months it would take to close.

5 responses

  1. "After a year in which IBM and HP threw everything they could at us, including old products with new names and new products with ‘super’ names, we still took market share away from them, … This time we’re tearing into what those re-branded mainframe makers thought was their safe haven — continuous up time, round-the-clock availability, and investment protection — and bringing it to customers who understand the value of a dollar."Yeah, the value of 6.5B IBM Dollars…

  2. A correspondent sends along a pointer to McNealy’s keynote at COMDEX in 2002 ( top 10 signs that the industry in Las Vegas and entertainment has been affected by the downturn….6.IBM Global Services now caters weddings and barmitzvahs. Further on down that same speech: "IBM has a third strategy which is don’t try this puzzle at home. It’s too hard, don’t worry your pretty little head. If you’ve got a wallet we’ve got a Hoover. Empty out your garage and we will assemble your automobile, handcrafted in your garage while you watch. In fact, while you try to get to work. Their whole idea is we’ll give you best of breed. What they really mean is inbred component. But occasionally they’ll go out and get some third party piston ring and battery, and transmission, and rack and pinion steering from yet another third party and they’ll bring it in and they’ll get the hammer and saw and the welders and the sandpaper, and spackle and paint to try and make this sucker work. This is what I call unintegratable. And they’re whole idea is to darken the skies with IBM global services carpenters and plumbers and sheet rockers. It’s called IBM Global Services. It reminds me of a construction company. Their strategy is to do it on your nickel and they’ll stay until one of two things happen. Either they get the car built or you run out of money, which ever comes first. And that’s the unintegratable strategy which is why I think Microsoft has a better strategy than IBM…."

  3. Awww, too late…No transcript but McNeely keynoted a conference I attended in 2001 where (in the midst of much MSFT-bashing) he let loose with a similar "the IBM strategy is darkening the skies with inbound Global Services hacks, onsite until they finish the job or you run out of money, most likely the latter".Nice post Charles, one of my first thoughts on the merger news was "wonder what Scott will have to say".

  4. A few:"Lou Gerstner didn’t have to do this. If I just say we’re going to spend a billion dollars on this, can I take this off?" said a sweltering McNealy [in a penguin suit], referring to IBM’s loud move to spend vast sums of money on Linux in 2001. – CNET news, 2/7/2002…/gwhkx" Global Services doesn’t want to solve the problem with the car, they want to customize the jalopy. They have to find a way to keep the hundreds of thousands, the hordes dutifully working and completely billable. When you sit down and try to talk about what it costs to do IBM Global Services and do the integration of WebSphere, Tivoli, Lotus, Windows, with AIX, with the mainframe, with whatever, they’ll darken the skies with Global Services folks." –CRN, 9/18/2003…/gwibs" is no longer under the consent decree where they were not allowed to financially trash-talk their competitors. IBM is running all over the planet saying Sun’s not viable and trash-talking us from a financial perspective. I need that war chest. I like our cash position better than IBM’s….>snip< …I think it’s very important to be able to respond to the unconstrained IBM trash-talking out there around our financial position." — CNET, 9/19/2003 piece: "We won’t run [customers’] data centers. We’ll operate their equipment. It’s a subtle difference. IBM wants to own the data center, wants to own the bricks and mortar. We don’t want to own the asset. We just want to operate our equipment for you, remote controlled–and provide the upgrades, do the dynamic reconfiguration, offline a disk drive. And then you can run the data center itself. You can hire (Electronic Data Systems) or (Computer Sciences) to run the data center for you. The last choice would be (Hewlett-Packard) or IBM.""We want IBM to start donating its own intellectual property to the community," McNealy said. "You need a little more than that hammer and chisel. Get the bulldozers out, Sam. Stop writing open letters to the No. 1 contributor in the open-source community." McNealy said IBM’s motivations are simple. "I believe they have Java envy, and they wish they were the steward, and they wish they had invented it," he said. "I think they’d love to wrest control…away." –CNET, 6/29/04…/gwhpd" biggest competitor is customization via IBM Global Services and fueled by CIOs who want to build their own Frankenstein," McNealy said. "No one else has all the pieces to build a grid…IBM specialized in custom Frankenstein grids, so you need global services to keep it running." – Dan Farber, ZDnet, 5/19/2006

  5. Joshua – you are the man. Too bad the IBM deal didn’t happen, as I think we’re going to have to look long and hard for smartass comments from Sun about Oracle.

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