So, price does seem to matter to IBM ( IBM). Confirming speculation reported here on March 20, The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar, says that price has been a major stumbling block on the road to a merger between IBM and Sun Micro ( JAVA). The price of the still unconfirmed deal has dropped to between $9 to $10 a share, according to a the latest Journal story. When first reported, the terms called for IBM to pay $10 to $11 a share or a total of $6.5 billion for Sun. The eye-popping price represented a 100% premium over Sun's recent share price, and it sparked question as to whether IBM was overpaying for the slumping server shop. Sun swung to a massive $1.8 billion loss last year on an 11% drop in sales. Some analysts have estimated that Sun's losses will dilute IBM's earnings by 5 cents a share if the deal goes through. On Tuesday, the Journalupdated the original story, saying that "the first report came relatively early in the process, when IBM and Sun hadn't had a chance to hammer out any differences into a merger agreement." To investors watching the action, the latest news confirms suspicions that one side -- presumably Sun -- leaked the story to help prod IBM and possibly scare up a bidding war by other interested parties. In recent days, the share prices of the two companies have been heading in opposite directions. Sun is down 8% since the stock peaked after the deal was reported on March 18. And IBM is up 4% this week as investors get the sense that it may not be interested in the $10 a share price tag.