Reading the news today I saw a rather interesting and shocking article regarding IBM wanting to buy Sun. You can read the article here.
I used to work for IBM and I am quite familiar with their corporate culture. There are pockets of innovation but its mostly a big stable corporation where procedure and chain of command is very important. Business groups are very seperate an competitive and rarely collaborate. Sucess is based off of metrics and numbers rather than innovation and solutions. This made IBM very efficient but also allowed customers to fall through the cracks being bounced between business groups. Sun is somewhat the opposite and is a very innovative company that produces hardware and software that is much more cutting edge. Sun's workforce is really mobile with Sunray thin clients and generous work from home arrangments. IBM's workforce is more rooted to drab office space and more rigid work from home arrangements.
When I worked for SGI I saw this exact screen play of culture shock come together when SGI bought Cray. Cray was very much like IBM. All Cray employee's had offices and things were more formal with scheduled meetings. SGI was very much like Sun a very "hip" and relaxed work force that was very innovative. SGI employees worked in purple cubes decorated in unique ways and meetings usually occoured in front of the many esspresso machines in the same 1600 Ampitheatre Parkway building that Google now occupies. Ultimately this combination failed because they tried to assimilate two very different ways of approaching the solution to the same problem. It cost SGI more than they could ever anticipate. SGI now is selling commodity based Linux systems a mere shell of their former glory.
If IBM can buy Sun and then "stay out of the kitchen" it could work. I just don't see IBM doing this once the metrics are set they will step in and try to make things more efficent and fail in an epic way. While IBM's way of doing business is far from wrong its just too different from Sun's for them to sucessfully combine things. It would be like the "Hi im a mac" guy and the "Hi im a PC" guy collaborating on the same project.