Updated from 11:58 a.m. EDT

Maybe Sun ( JAVA) thinks there's a viable plan B in the form of a bailout from Congress.

The sinking server giant failed to reach a $7 billion takeover deal with IBM ( IBM) sending the stock down 24% Monday.

Sun apparently balked at the lowered price and tried to get IBM to guarantee it would not abandon the deal, according to a New York Times report Sunday. In reaction, Sun sought to tear up an exclusivity agreement and seek other bidders. At that point, IBM withdrew its offer.

So where does Sun go when it walks away?

Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), Dell ( DELL) and Cisco ( CSCO) aren't nearly as good a fit, or even interested, say analysts.

"IBM and Sun both need each other, and Sun's unlikely to find a new suitor," says Collins Stewart analyst Ashok Kumar. "An IBM/Sun deal is important to the sector's health and tech at large," says Kumar.

With the pressure of a slumping economy and forces like cutthroat competition, industries usually respond through consolidation. Fighting that trend hasn't proved to be a successful tactic from a shareholder perspective.

Yahoo! ( YHOO) twice rejected Microsoft's ( MSFT) hostile offers, leading to a year-long battle and the replacement of Yahoo! executives. Yahoo! is now down 53% since February 2008, when Microsoft made its initial $31-a-share offer. Meanwhile, Google ( GOOG) continues to dominate the search business.

Another example is General Motors ( GM). With plunging car sales and heavy costs, a combination with Chrysler could have been a big step to help reduce overlapping expenses and possibly keep the best of both companies moving forward. The deal never happened. GM is down 95% from its peak price in October of 2007, when Chrysler owner Cerberus started pursuing a deal.

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