Should Cisco move on Sun?

Now that IBM has apparently lost its lust for Sun Microsystems, should Cisco make a play for the beleaguered company? What's to lose?

Cisco wants to get into data center servers in a big way, as indicated by its recent Unified Computing System announcement. That system includes an integrated blade server, developed by Cisco, and based on Intel Xeon 5500 processors and gobs of memory expansion capabilities.

All the industry scuttlebutt has been about Cisco competing with HP and IBM in data center blade servers with UCS; but Cisco is starting from ground zero. It has no base. In order to compete with IBM and HP, it first has to leapfrog Dell and Sun.

Sun's looking for a buyer; it can be had for a cost of $6-7 billion; Cisco has $30 billion in cash; Dell and Sun are the low hanging fruit in Cisco's ambitions to pick the blade server tree. Sun also has some nifty software, such as Java and OpenSolaris, that Cisco could benefit from as it looks to move up the stack.

And even though Sun servers are not Intel-based like Cisco's, Sun has about 10% of the market, according to IDC. It would give Cisco an installed base and an alternative platform with which to attract customers while UCS ramps -- if it ramps.  

Cisco acquiring Sun -- why not?

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