This is major news!
It calls to mind Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems a few years ago. Sun Microsystems created Java, and open sourced their Linux flavor, Solaris. They even had an open source (kinda crappy) version of Microsoft Office called Open-Office. All that changed once Oracle acquired the Sun. First Oracle announced it would have a paid licensed version of future releases of Java, Solaris, the open-sourced Linux backbone of many companies was sunsetted, and it all went downhill from there. Google, whose technology foundation was in Java had to create it own programming language and was in the courts with Oracle for a number of years.
I don’t expect this situation to get ugly for companies that rely on RedHat. IBM for the longest had been decidedly 4th place of the 4 company race in the cloud market. While their cloud offering Bluemix was promising, it hasn’t quite caught on as they had hoped, as AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure drew most enterprises looking for cloud solutions. This move however, brings them closer to the fore.
RedHat solutions like its best-in-class Linux flavor is used by both private and public sector corporations. OpenShift, OpenStack, and Ansible, its offerings in containerization, cloud, and configuration management are very high in-demand for managing server farms among many other things. This means big business for IBM right off the bat. With Big Blue’s considerable resources and reach, I expect RedHat to penetrate the market even more.
I imagine folks at Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure are scrambling to deal with the ramification of this merger. At least they have about 6-12 months for the merger to be approved by shareholders and regulators, to makes major adjustments. I expect Google to be more proactive having been in the same predicament before with Oracle. At the very least, this merge makes the future more interesting for IBM.