Speculation is rife that IBM is closing in on a $6.5bn deal to acquire Jonathan Schwartz’s blog. If it happens it will become the largest acquisition in the blogosphere to date, and lend weight to the argument that Sun Microsystems’ CEO was right to spend so much of his time blogging since he was appointed in April 2006 – rather than tinkering about with ‘the details’ like the operational excellence of one of the largest IT companies in the world.
Insiders say that if IBM does indeed close the deal, the package will include not just Jonathan Schwartz’s blog – and all associated branding including the rights to use the term ‘Jonathan’s Blog’ — but also an ancilliary hardware, systems and software business that IBM is believed to think “could come in handy if the ass falls out of the blogging market”.
In its latest quarter Sun announced sales down 11%, gross margin as a percentage of revenue down 6.6% and a net loss of $209m. Schwartz said of the results: “It’s great to see customers so aggressively embracing open source software, from Solaris to MySQL, alongside Sun’s new open source storage platforms as a means of radical cost reduction.”
But while the company was having a tough quarter Schwartz’s blogging prowess suffered no such setbacks. He put a picture of a pair of sneakers next to a blog about major retailers for those not familiar with the concept; he embedded a video of Steve Ballmer’s now infamous “Developers, Developers, Developers!” speech into a blog about, you guessed it, developers.
But perhaps the piece de resistance, he blogged the line: “The storage industry bears a remarkable resemblance to the proprietary server industry [companies like Sun — Ed.] at the bursting of the internet bubble – closed, highly profitable, frustrating customers with exorbitant charges. Plump, and ripe for change. Like a plum.”
Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that Schwartz has just described Sun’s server business at the bursting of the Internet bubble as having “frustrated customers with exorbitant charges”.
Because, as anyone will tell you, plums too are ‘ripe for change’. You can’t walk past a plum orchard without hearing the little fellas talking about how they want to get out, do something different: change. Plum crumble, plum cake, plum jam – anything but staying a plum! Simply remaining a plum is so, well, plum 1.0.
Of course for anyone who wasn’t aware of The Nature of Plums (i.e. they’re like rolling stones, always moving from place to place, never settling down) or indeed doesn’t know what a plum looks like, Schwartz helpfully included a picture of a plum on his blog entry.
This seminal entry led one IBM insider close to the Jonathan’s Blog acquisition to note sagely: “This isn’t just any blogger. This is a guy who can read the mind of a plum. The $6.5bn valuation obviously needed to take that into account. People will of course say we are paying too much. But do you know of another blogger who knows as much about plums? I didn’t think so.”