Google has passed up a few potential buys that, as has been proven by history, it absolutely should not have passed up. Facebook, for example? And while Google has had some great success in certain purchases, such as AdMob and Android, it seems that “buy more” should be the rule of thumb for the company. One choice that may have cost them billions is not buying Sun Microsystems.
Sun would have cost Google big bucks. That’s $7.4 billion to be precise. But that cost would have given Google rights to a very important set of technology: Java. The coding language, especially in its more open sectors, is used extensively by Google – and having rights would have increased maneuverability while, you know, preventing the massive lawsuit from Sun’s current owner.
Oracle, who bought out Sun Microsystems when Google didn’t, is in the process of suing Google. While the case has been ongoing for just under a year, the exact scale became apparent when Google attempted to file the case “under seal” (preventing the records of the case and hearings from becoming public). Oracle responded by saying the information was something the public should know, especially since the figures Oracle was seeking in damages reached into the billions.
No, that wasn’t a typo. That’s a big, shiny B at the front there. So, while Sun Microsystems would have cost Google billions, it looks like not making the choice may end up costing about the same. The difference is that Google now has to struggle through future licensing issues, the court case itself, and they still don’t have the full strength of the technology at their disposal.
It may be that Google didn’t make the purchase because a $7.4 billion buy simply wouldn’t have been allowed after the inevitable anti-trust hearing. In any case, however, it looks like not owning Sun Microsystems costs just about as much as buying it.
[sources include: ZDNet]