Cringely thinks that nothing can stop MS except MS itself:
Sun no longer poses any threat to Microsoft. Part of this feeling is based on agreements between the two companies that have to exist but weren't announced. For all we know, Sun may have given up the future of Java altogether and will allow it to wither away and be replaced by .NET. Whether that's the case or not, Java Desktop (Sun's biggest strategic threat to Windows) is over. Sun now goes back to being just a maker of big Unix servers intended to support a Windows-centric IT world. And the whole Java culture, which is to say IBM and Oracle, is threatened. Microsoft hobbles three opponents in one deal.
The worst thing about this deal is that Sun brought it upon itself through a campaign of ridicule and hate promulgated personally by CEO Scott McNealy. This is McNealy's failure and nobody else's. The quotes last week from McNealy were laughable, the about face nothing short of shameful. How are Sun's big customers going to believe what the company says in the future in the face of such a change? How can they base huge technical investments on the word of Sun?
Now, I'm far less convinced that MS has hobbled IBM and Oracle in this deal (especially given the db opening MS has handed Oracle with the increasingly long delay in the release of Yukon). IBM, I'd never count out - and with this deal in the air, you now know why IBM suddenly started talking up an opening of Java. IBM has done very well the last few years by not doing what McNealy insisted on doing - taking MS on head to head in a space MS owns.
Make no mistake - this is a huge victory for MS (as I said here, right after the announcement). It's not the end of the world in IT though - Sun has been weak for a long time now, and this is simply Sun management catching up with that reality. MS is bound to slip - IMHO, it'll happen no later than the time that Gates decides that he's (personally) had enough and wants to get off the ride....