IBM-Sun deal could alter identity management landscape

The rumored acquisition of Sun Microsystems by IBM could have far-reaching consequences for the identity-management market. Both companies have long histories in the IAM market, but have taken different paths over the years, with Sun focusing on open-source development and IBM sticking with the commercial model. So integrating the two portfolios could prove to be a major challenge, writes Steve Coplan of The 451 Group.

The rumored acquisition of Sun Microsystems by IBM could have far-reaching consequences for the identity-management market. Both companies have long histories in the IAM market, but have taken different paths over the years, with Sun focusing on open-source development and IBM sticking with the commercial model. So integrating the two portfolios could prove to be a major challenge, writes Steve Coplan of The 451 Group.

There are sure to be some difficult product rationalization issues, complicated by Sun’s still in progress transition toward open source development and business model. However, in some areas, the product portfolio strengths are complementary. Sun, for instance, has led the market in enterprise directories (although its product has grown long in the tooth and the OpenDS open source version has yet to reach full product maturity) and the acquisition would supply IBM with federated identity and role management technology where the company has lagged the market.

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