G. Oliver Young
The biggest news in the tech industry the past week has been the rumored IBM acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Like everyone else who follows the tech industry I have spent more than a few hours trying to get my head around all the competitive implications. Needless to say the rumor has made for some interesting hallway conversations, not to mention some lively debates among analysts in the office.

At the same time I was finalizing the material for the B2B Social Media workshop my colleague Laura Ramos and I conducted yesterday in Foster City, and will conduct next month in Orlando. In doing so, I couldn’t help but notice I have a lot of Sun examples of social media done right. IBM holds it’s own, but in the tech industry specifically Sun and Dell are the poster children of social media marketing, and both have been struggling mightily.

A couple of years ago I was on a panel with Toby Redshaw of Motorola, who in the course of discussion confidently declared that the only way to get a Web 2.0 initiative off the ground was to fire the CEO. Since then I have seen just that over and over again: the firms looking to implement Web 2.0 tools for social media marketing — as well as employee collaboration and productivity — are those with a “motivated” CEO, typically one who is fresh on the job. The CEO fresh on the job does not typically find himself at the most successful company.

Which brings us back to Sun and IBM. Let’s take a quick look at their homepages as they stood in August of 2008 (the orange boxes are mine). Notice anything? One has community and social media all over the place while the other offers just a hint. So which one is acquiring which? And is this more than just coincidence?

[Cross-posed from Strategic heading.]


SUN Homepage Aug 2008

IBM Homepage Aug 2008