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Ballmer, IBM reportedly surprised by Oracle-Sun deal

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Microsoft's CEO said he'll have to ponder this one. Also, a source says that IBM was still interested in Sun and was blindsided by Oracle.

Reporters caught up with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in Moscow to get his take on Oracle's deal to buy Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion.

But apparently Ballmer, who is rarely at a loss for words, didn't exactly have a sound byte at the ready.

"I need to think about it," Ballmer told reporters in Moscow, according to Reuters. "I am very surprised."

I'm hearing that Ballmer wasn't the only one surprised by Monday's deal. According to a source of mine, IBM hadn't given up on purchasing Sun and was blindsided by Oracle's move.

Oracle is, of course, one of Microsoft's chief rivals in the database and business applications space--a fact that Ballmer highlighted in an interview in February. Sun is also a longtime rival, although the two companies have had a technology partnership in recent years stemming from their settlement of legal hostilities back in 2004.

I imagine we'll hear far more from Ballmer and Microsoft in the coming days and weeks.