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Techies all a-Twitter over IBM-Sun talks

Merger has Twitterers tweeting about IBM, Sun stocks, Linux, Java and the cloud

March 18, 2009 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - With industry giants IBM and Sun Microsystems Inc. reportedly in merger talks, techies the world over rushed to their keyboards and mobile devices to Twitter about the possibilities.

The Wall Street Journal and others reported this morning that IBM may pay as much as $6.5 billion in cash for Sun. It's a potential acquisition that has long been the subject of much fervent speculation. And it's a merger that could affect the likes of Sun's Java, Linux, cloud computing, open-source and MySQL offerings. That means one potential corporate acquisition pushes a whole lot of hot buttons for a whole lot of techies.

And many of them rushed to tweet about everything from their concerns for employees at both IBM and Sun to what a merger might mean for Java and MySQL, how it could affect their stocks, and how it could impact Hewlett-Packard Co.

"So if IBM buys Sun, does that just leave HP and IBM to fight it out in the hardware and services business? DoJ?," tweeted someone identified as prkush. And a Twitterer called DebJenz noted, "IBM buying Sun?? Talk about Goliath and Goliath!"

Nearyd tweeted, "Wow! My Sun shares are up 80% on the day, which means that they're now "only" down 60% year on year."

Twitter is the perfect medium for anyone who wants to get a feel for a wide range of gut reactions to, well, most anything, including a potential merger, according to Ken Hyers, an analyst at Technology Business Research.

"Twitter does seem to be becoming more and more important as a way to communicate," said Hyers. "Twitter is a technology that's really well adapted to our sound-bite world. With any breaking news, news junkies need a constant flow of information. I'm less and less surprised to see people Twittering about just about anything."

Caroline Dangson, an analyst at IDC, said she's interested in watching the comments fly around sites like Twitter and she wonders what effect they might ultimately have.

"Twitter allows us to measure the good and negative comments about the news that IBM is in talks to buy Sun Microsystems even before the companies release an official statement," she said. "Could public opinion sway the outcome? That's what I am interested to see."

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