M&A market may be dead, but Sun's still buying

Company bucks the moribund M&A market, buying Q-layer to enhance its cloud-computing portfolio. But will Sun be too soon to the cloud-computing market to effectively monetize it?

Apparently, someone forgot to tell Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz that the market for tech mergers and acquisitions is dead.

On Wednesday, Sun announced that it has acquired Q-layer, a cloud-computing management and automation company (see CNET's coverage here):

Imagine scaling up instantly to massive capacities to meet changing needs. Then imagine doing it on the Web, without having to invest in new infrastructure, train new personnel, or license new software. That's cloud computing, and Sun is making it a reality.

That's Sun's pitch, and it sounds promising. Cloud computing is a great fit with Sun's past and with its current technology portfolio, including open-source MySQL, the database leader on the Web. But is the market big enough yet to fill the holes in Sun's declining revenue?

That's the big question on Sun. I'm optimistic on its strategy, going forward, as I think its use of open source to drive add-on sales is smart and increasingly well-defined, and I also think, as I noted previously, that cloud computing is a good fit for Sun. But neither are likely to pay big dividends in the short term, which begs the question, can Wall Street be patient with Sun during this transition period?

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