Schmidt and winds of Apple-Sun

A quick browse of the Web to see what speculation emerged after the news that Google CEO Eric Schmidt will join Apple's board came up with a ditty from one John Dvorak: Is an Apple-Sun merger in the works?

Dvorak opines that Schmidt "may have been brought in as the set-up pitcher for what may finally be the often rumored merger between Apple and Sun".

Whoa! What gives? Dvorak explains:

Of course, speculation about a Sun-Apple deal has gone on for the last 20 years. On any given Sunday one of the companies was on the verge of buying the other depending on how the stock prices skewed. As of this writing the two stock prices have never been more skewed, making the deal attractive to Apple.

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.

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.

ZDNet's Dana Blankenhorn takes a more sober look:

It's very possible Schmidt is on that board for other reasons. Like Google wants Schmidt out of the house while it deals with the hodgepodge of me-too "innovations" he has allowed to drain Google's resources. Like having the Google CEO on the board (Google is currently worth $116 billion, twice Apple's valuation) is a coup for Apple, giving it online cachet it hasn't gotten past iTunes.

An Apple-Sun deal, midwifed by Google, would be a major blow against open source, I believe. While Apple's OS X is based on BSD Unix, and Sun's CDDL license is even more restrictive, Sun's commitment to open source is increasingly welcome. Apple, by contrast, might as well be Microsoft.

But I digress in the rumor mill. I was looking for some more tradional speculation that Microsoft was in trouble because of the Schmidt move. There's plenty of that. But technology guru Om Malik says the move is trouble for everyone.

Care to join in on the speculation mill and tell us who is in trouble because the mild-mannerd Schmidt is joining Apple's board? Why not take a swipe at SGI or Novell? "Dvorak made me do it." Talk back below.

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