Sunset for Sun Microsystems?

“Sun recently announced its 12th consecutive quarter of falling revenues, not to mention 3,300 more layoffs to add to the 8,500 employees it has fired over the last two years. Standard & Poor’s has downrated the company’s credit rating to ‘junk.’ It is no longer enough to blame the high-tech recession for all of Sun’s blues; other companies — including some even worse hit, like Yahoo! and Cisco — are making strong comebacks,” Michael S. Malone writes for E-Commerce News. “Companies, even big ones, often die. Some quickly, most slowly. But few companies ever kill themselves Maybe they should.”

“Call it Corporate Euthanasia. And in this fast-moving new world of business, that option should be a serious one for any board of directors in fulfilling its responsibility to shareholders. We have grown used to technologies, products, even markets bursting on the scene like supernovas — and then just as quickly evaporating,” Malone writes. “Why shouldn’t the same be true for companies? Why should they fade into the perpetual twilight of Chapter 11 or in an eternal, shriveled corporate coma sucking on the life support of patent lawsuits and royalties?”

Malone writes, “A case in point is Sun Microsystems. Sun was once a great company — dynamic, gutsy, and innovative. In hardware it pioneered the server industry, in software it developed the Java language — and was duly rewarded for both, becoming one of the greatest high-tech business stories of all time. Chairman Scott McNealy was one of the most memorable business executives of the ’90s, and at its peak, Sun was so powerful that it was even rumored to be contemplating the purchase of Apple Computer. But that was then.”

Full article here.


  1. Be careful counting Sun out just yet. There was an explosion of sales due to Y2K, then it slowed down. Guess what, we are now going into the 5th year since. So there are maintenance issues that will require customers to start upgrading again. Where else will they go? MSFT? I think not. Sun has a lot going for it with with this new upgrade cycle starting. Cisco is already starting to experience similar upgrades and backlogs due to the Y2K product cycle effect.

  2. Thinking the speed at which Apple’s GUI and Unix were intertwined, possibly there are some innovative technologies from Sun that Apple possibly could be interested in…Office killer anyone??

  3. Sun is not going anywhere. They still fill the gaps that most other companies just can’t fill… namely Microsoft!

    I’m hoping that Java Desktop places a few nails in the Windows coffin for the sake of computer freedom versus the wrath of Redmond!

  4. Sorry, but I’m not interested in runninga fourth company (you can guess what my third one will be).

    Sun will be strong. A new line of processors is coming that will put them way ahead of Intel. Up to 130 times faster than current processors – out in 2005 or 2006.

    I’m betting Sun is going to be here for the long haul.

    Microsoft on the other hand? Well, if they keep Steve Ballmer, they’ll suffer like AOL with Steve Case!

  5. Sun will most like become like SGI – once a titan of the industry, but relegated and eventually satisfied being a niche player catering to esoteric and highly specialized markets.

  6. Sun is not out and I don’t believe that they will… just matter of time until they do a come back… unfortunately this will take off of Apple server share.

  7. So, Mr. Steve Jobs, what new line of processors? Read the news, they’ve given up on SPARC and are going with AMD64. SPARC is going to be for very high-end, specialized servers. They should have never killed Solaris for PowerPC. You could have been running Solaris on your Mac right now. As it is, choosing NeXTstep for the next Mac OS was the right choice (BSD feels more natural than System V).

    Their biggest asset at this point is Java, and they should concentrate on making it fast for all platforms possible, and strengthen their relationships with other Microsoft competitors (like Apple).

    Oh, by the way, have you missed more news? Sun and Microsoft are now in bed together. It’s a sad day when Scott McNealy and Steve Ballmer are on the same stage together. Really sad. I thought I was living in Bizarro world when I saw that.

    One last point: Linux is ugly. I hope it dies an ugly death. Long live BSD.

  8. Personally, I think Vitaboy is correct.

    Sun’s problem is the schizoprenia caused by working out whether it sees Opteron as its future or Sparc – this is similar to sgi’s issues with MIPS and Itanium.

    Sparc has problems with regards to economies of scale, when compared to something like IBM’s PowerPC efforts: PPC’s penetration into the games console market with Sony and Xbox will, when combined with a more complete migration to 9xx from Apple, amortise the R&D and production costs across a much larger base than MIPS, Sparc and Itanium combined.

    Two more years of strong contributions from Apple’s music operations are likely to see our favourite fruit-based computer manufacturer return to a market capitalisation of anywhere between $20 and $30 billion. Whilst Sun are actually more likely to degrade further to around $8-10 billion as their market gets predated by increasingly sophisticated Linux offerings from HP and IBM.

    However, Apple and Sun do share a common technology, namely BSD Unix and Sun do have credibility in the server industry whilst Apple – through Xsan – now has truly innovative storage architecture.

    contd. ->

  9. MCCFR wrote:

    > However, Apple and Sun do share a common technology, namely BSD Unix

    Yes, but it’s been so long since Sun has done anything with BSD. They’ve been on System V UNIX since they went to Solaris 2.x.

    But I agree, Sun would be stupid not to work more closely with Apple and give up on that stupid Java Desktop, err, JavaLinux Desktop, and port StarOffice to Mac OS X.

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