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Apple & Java?

Tuesday, January 23, 1996 by Dave Winer.

A quick message.

To those who've asked -- yes, I saw today's Wall Street Journal article about Sun acquiring Apple for $4 billion. They say a deal is imminent.

I've not been able to confirm this story. In fact, I have spoken with people who say that the story is wrong. They say a deal is not imminent.

So, we don't know if Apple is becoming a subsidiary of Sun.

But I do have a few comments.

Sun would gain a full operating system to run behind Java. A much richer runtime environment is possible if you have an OS to play with. Microsoft will certainly explore this possibility as their web browser digs into the Windows OS in upcoming releases. It's certain to happen on the Windows side. Sun may *need* this deal to keep Java viable longterm.

The combined companies would own two important Internet markets due to Sun's position in the server business and Apple's position in content development. If sensible technology-driven directions were followed, I believe this could be translated into an advantage in client systems.

Unix guys working with Mac guys. Lots of interesting possibilities there. Connections between content and servers. I like this!

If Sun actually does make an offer it would indicate that they don't buy into the $500 Internet terminal idea. What's the point of a Macintosh with no local disk drive? Maybe I'm missing something.

I believe Sun may be maneuvering to get a better price. If so, they should grab now. $4 billion is a fair price for Apple. There's more value in the Mac platform than there is in Java. And that's not slighting the value of Java. The two products would multiply.

Sun can buy Apple because Apple has not been able to leverage its connection with the Internet into value for its shareholders. This happened because Apple management was not aware of the innovations shipped by independent Mac developers. They were focused inward when they should have been looking outward. As the stories are coming out about Apple's previous attempts to get acquired, it's becoming clearer that at the top levels of Apple they were focused on getting out of, not staying in the business.

We live in interesting times.

Dave Winer

PS: If any of the principals to this reported deal would like to talk, I'm happy to work on background or not-for-attribution. Send email.

PPS: What's it like being a Sun developer?

© Copyright 1994-2004 Dave Winer. Last update: 2/5/07; 10:50:05 AM Pacific. "There's no time like now."