Oracle to buy Sun for $7.4B after IBM drops bid

The biggest impact, of course, will be on Oracle. And the fallout could be significant, says Ray Wang, a vice president of Forrester Research.

Thanks to the worldwide economic meltdown, big companies have been trimming their information technology (IT) budgets — used to cover the cost of new hardware, software, servers and such. By joining forces with Sun, he says, Oracle will be better prepared to do battle against IBM and other vendors.

"At the end of the day, for Oracle, this is about getting a shot at the IT wallet," he says.

History will ultimately judge how big the missed opportunity was for IBM. The computer giant balked, in part, because of regulatory concerns: Sun and IBM both have big positions in the computer server segment.

Though IBM worried the overlap wouldn't sit well with antitrust regulators, Wang, for one, thinks that wouldn't have been a big hurdle. IBM's loss is all the more poignant "when you consider that Oracle only offered slightly more than what IBM was offering," he says.

"IBM missed a nice opportunity," Wang says.

Swartz reported from San Francisco, Cauley from New York.

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