What we actually know amounts to very little. The Wall Street Journal printed a story based on information received that IBM was thinking of buying Sun. IBM said "no comment" as did Sun. Neither company denied that acquisition talks were taking place.
Then Intel CEO Paul Otellini said Sun had been shopping itself around to several potential purchasers. Again Sun did not issue a denial. Crucially Otellini has not denied he said this or altered what it is he said - he believes Sun has been hawking itself around potential purchasers.
What do the WSJ article and the Otellini comment tell us? They indicate that Sun's senior management doesn't believe Sun can prosper on its own and needs to be taken over. The widespread shopping around of Sun by the Schwartz-led management team tells us all that the Schwartz team - and the Sun board - have no faith in Sun's stand-alone survival prospects. They don't see prosperity for Sun and its shareholders in that direction.
Don't think I'll be advising anyone to invest in Sun tin, then. And what about Java and MySQL. I reckon anyone running their business on any of the above must be shitting themselves.
Update: Rob asks me why this is a bad thing. Well, the problem is that a LOT (and I mean a LOT) of businesses use Sun hardware (mostly because Solaris is still one of the best UNIX implementations out there), even more websites and businesses depend on MySQL and almost everybody is affected in some way, shape or form by Java.
If the top brass at Sun are not confident that their business can stand on its own two feet, then it means that they are looking for an acquisition. The immediate concern for anyone who uses any of the above technology is that it makes the future uncertain. If you have no reason to believe the company in question has any problems, you carry on with conviction.
But when it's clear that Sun is on shaky ground, it calls into question large swathes of people's IT strategy. It's going to damage faith in the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) for many websites, it's going reverberate around the Java world and it's going to cause an uproar in the tin business.
Even if Sun is acquired, it does not necessarily mean that their technology will survive, either. Just ask the guys from Sequent, who saw their NUMA-Q technology quietly killed off, or Informix, who very nearly saw their database technology snuffed.
Personally, I can't see Java dying off because it's pretty easy to take the final steps to open source it (although that is no guarantee); MySQL is already open source and so that should survive (in some form or another -- it may splinter like Linux); but if I was running my business on Solaris kit now, I'd be shitting bricks.
In an ideal would, whoever bought Sun would do no harm to the software, and port Solaris to their propietary kit (because, IMHO, Sun's hardware is fucking rubbish and all the propietary Unices are crap! :o)
But in reality, this sounds very much like the death knell for Sun and Solaris; Java doesn't make Sun (or the new buyer) any money and MySQL is open source and open source is a very difficult business model.
So I think there could be a world of IT pain heading in, whether Sun gets bought or not.