5 IT mergers that should have been

I recently published a slide show looking at all the rumoured takeovers and acquisitions that, for whatever reason, just didn’t work out. I called it IT mergers that might have been.

Looking back at the slideshow this morning, I realized that it almost begs a followup, which is IT mergers that should have been. Of course, you could make the case that several of the duos in my original list would have been a good fit, just as you could argue that those that did work out, like HP/Compaq, were a disaster. The ones I list below have never, to my knowledge, even been broached, but what great opportunities they missed!

Red Hat and MySQL: Since Sun’s acquisition earlier this year we’ve hardly heard a thing about the open source database that once threatened the likes of Oracle and Microsoft. Joining forces would have made the concept of LAMP that much more tenable.

Dell and EDS: They share the same Texas roots, and Dell is the one that really needs to prove itself from a services perspective. If they had the likes of Ross Perot’s firm inside their organization they might not be working so hard to recruit channel partners to increase their solution sales.

Symantec and Open Text: If EMC, a storage company, bought first a content management firm like Documentum and then a security firm like RSA, it’s not hard to see where the holes are for Symantec, a security company that bought a storage company, Veritas. And you couldn’t do much better than Canada’s best known content management firm.

Google and OpenOffice:
There’s no reason for the search engine giant to create yet another word processor when there is already a viable contender to Microsoft Office on the market. True, it would have taken Google into the offline realm, but it’s only a matter of time before the company has to stop pretending that desktop, premise-based software users still exist.

HP and RIM: It’s no crazier than the rumour last year that Microsoft would buy the BlackBerry maker. And for HP, which managed to fumble Compaq’s success with the iPaq, it would be a second chance at making a serious play in the handheld space rather than developing yet another also-ran.

Any other ideas? I’m open to suggestions, particularly from users that would be impacted by any of these proposed M&As. After all, it’s easy to move around the chess pieces when you don’t have a lot personally at stake. Which is why most IT managers are still focused on the IT mergers that did happen.

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