Is Sun's Salvation in . . . Hardware?

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News: Is Sun's Salvation in . . . Hardware?

  1. Is Sun's Salvation in . . . Hardware? (14 messages)

    Maybe there’s something about unconventional office space that gets Silicon Valley’s creative juices flowing. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard worked their magic in a garage. Apple’s (AAPL) Macintosh development team flew a pirate flag over the Bandley 3 building. Now Sun Microsystems (JAVA) hopes a young team that toiled in an unmarked — and reportedly unkempt – San Francisco loft can spark a turnaround in a tough economy, and build a new billion-dollar business. The pizza-fueled group, led by engineering whizzes Mike Shapiro, Bryan Cantrill and Jeff Bonwick, spent about three years developing a new type of data storage box that uses flash technology, off-the-shelf parts and open-source software to help companies store and manage information more effectively. Don’t doze off, now – data storage may sound boring, but it’s also lucrative. With the explosion in online video, social networking, Web-based software and online commerce, it’s about as close to a recession-proof business as you can find. Read the rest at http://bigtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/11/12/sun-gambles-big-as-outlook-darkens/ .

    Threaded Messages (14)

  2. I hope so. I think that maybe what makes Sun a good steward of Java is that they've not tried to make much money off of it directly.
  3. It has been for years[ Go to top ]

    Hardware and a reasonably decent OS is about the only thing Sun are any good at these days. They were in the early 90s what Apple is today, innovative leaders with sexy technology, like SGI. I like Sun but like many dot-com survivors they are too big for their boots, the innovators have retired and cashed out leaving a management heavy bureaucracy engine with the innovation of Walmart. I hope they can re-invent themselves, they were a great company. -John-
  4. Talk about salvation - Sun may have to sell itself or some of its assets since its market cap is plummeting. :-( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/12/suns_market_cap_below_3bn_dollars/
  5. They also have 2 billion in cash. They could buy back stock but I doubt they will. http://finance.google.com/finance?fstype=bi&q=NASDAQ:JAVA
  6. Talk about salvation - Sun may have to sell itself or some of its assets since its market cap is plummeting. :-(
    A low market cap doesn't force anyone to sell a company - I'm pretty sure my one-man company is worth a lot less than Sun, yet I'm not forced to sell to anyone. The fact that suns market cap is low might make them a takeover target if someone perceives their value as a part of another company to be larger than the standalone value. But that will always be the case regardless of market cap, a low value only makes it easier.
  7. A low market cap doesn't force anyone to sell a company
    That's true. But as the article mentions, shareholder pressure is mounting to either sell parts of Sun or all of Sun to cut down on the expected annual loss, and that's what should get us worried about Java. If you look at the recent Q1/09 results (http://www.sun.com/aboutsun/investor/earnings_releases/Q109_SLD.pdf), total revenues were $2.99bln, and software revenues were $124mln or about 4% (the third-lowest result of the last nine quarters). From an investor's perspective, why wouldn't you close or sell of this "niche area" where you actually give the product away for free? Sun always argues that free software buys goodwill with developers which leads to more hardware and services sales. But it seems to me this is wrong on two levels: In medium and big companies at least, the operational guys define what kind of hardware and software they want, and then the procurement guys either pick a vendor after playing golf on the executive level or beating all vendors up on price. Neither the operational guys or the procurement guys could care less if developers feel all warm and fuzzy about Sun.
  8. Sun just announced to lay off between 15% and 18% of their staff (5,000 - 6,000) and to re-organize their software group. Rich Green, former Exec VP of the Software group, is leaving Sun. http://www.sun.com/aboutsun/pr/2008-11/sunflash.20081114.1.xml We just have to wait and see what that means for Java. Karsten
  9. Sun missed the boat on middleware and services. They bought some decent middleware products but they've been terrible about building a brand for them or marketing them coherently as solutions instead of neat tools. They haven't developed a robust service business focused on solutions either. Sun has been too product focused instead of solution focused. They cannot maintain an edge in servers or operating systems when commoditization is the norm and economies of scale are the necessary to compete. Even middleware is becoming increasingly commoditized. Yet, though customers are able to buy all the pieces parts at low, low prices, they need help in turning those pieces parts into solutions for their business. That’s what IBM, HP and Oracle are doing to survive and profit, but not Sun. So, does this storage device mean that they will devolve from a mainstream platform vendor into a specialty hardware niche producer? Or will they move into the appliances space where they can combine their hardware and software expertise to produce total solutions you simply plug-in and run? That’s still not mainstream, but it’s better than trying to compete against IBM and Intel in terms of hardware. Even HP has dropped their own CPU design and development.
  10. Sun has been too product focused instead of solution focused. They cannot maintain an edge in servers or operating systems when commoditization is the norm and economies of scale are the necessary to compete. Even middleware is becoming increasingly commoditized. Yet, though customers are able to buy all the pieces parts at low, low prices, they need help in turning those pieces parts into solutions for their business. That’s what IBM, HP and Oracle are doing to survive and profit, but not Sun.
    I don't see it that way. Sun has an end-to-end solution for absolutely everything you need, in every price range. They will consult with you to put together a solution that meets your needs, sell you support, training, warranties, etc. You can mix and match any part of their stack with products from other vendors, but you get the best experience and performance if you buy the whole stack from Sun. How is that different from IBM, HP and Oracle?
  11. How is that different from IBM, HP and Oracle?
    Over the years I've been working in large commercial enterprises and system integrators for the federal government. I see a lot of IBM, HP, Oracle, BEA (pre-Oracle) and Sun. Of these, only Sun failed to articulate any holistic enterprise solution. They have good products and in some areas they do a very good job at marketing, but not good enough across the board to be seen by these customers as a full service operation. When we were defining a SOA infrastructure for a Federal agency built around an ESB and other middleware, Sun was unable to articulate a complete soup-to-nuts solution. They talked about identity management this and servers that and this and that pieces of middleware, but they never put it altogether as a solution in the eyes of the customers. Everyone continued to think of Sun as a hardware company that gave away Java. They acknowledged that Sun had some neat software, but the perception was that the IBM, HP and Oracle (and BEA) had a clearer vision of the complete solution.
  12. If Sun wanted to be saved from financial ruin, I would think that it would be more aggressive in trying to get as much servers, software, and services, out of inventory as fast as possible. You can only do this through direct sales (kind of hard) or indirect methods such as what they are trying to do by appealing to developers by their open source software offerings in order to create a kind of goodwill mind share. I think they are trying to use the same strategy for their hardware and other products as well, with the availability of their "Startup Essentials Program" that helps new tech companies get off the ground quickly and easily by providing them with big discounts on their products and free technical advice from their engineers, which is great - but if you take a look at the list of countries that are able to subscribe to this program, you realize that for some reason it's very narrow. I love Sun as a company, but they need to open up themselves more to other countries. For every country that doesn't have access to technology programs such as Sun's "Startup Essentials Program", Sun is likely to miss a sales opportunity, and a missed sales opportunity doesn't bode well for a company that needs to grow itself out of possible financial ruin.
  13. sold?[ Go to top ]

    Sun will be bought by IBM or Oracle to better compete with Microsoft. Purchasing Sun includes MySQL now.
  14. I wish IBM buys SUN. I have been tracking SUN stock since 2-3 years ago and it has always lost the cap. A few months ago it was 8 billion, now it is under 3 billion (yesterday it even reached 2.7). They cannot use all their cache to do buy back because it is dangerous in current situation where financial institutes will not be able to provide you any. If they use the money they will be in problem. If they do not buy back on the other hand, IBM or someone else can force them to sell the company (because stock owners will want it). I guess I will continue to count on Java but no more on SUN. They are down.
  15. I wish IBM buys SUN.
    That would be terrible. There is already too much industry consolidation. IBM, HP, Oracle, SAP and Microsoft dominate the enterprise space. Its getting harder to find viable competitors to their offerings. That makes negotiating decent prices very difficult. Don't think IBM is any hero or open standards advocate. In practice they try their best to lock you into their products and they've been very successful at it. Once they "own" you they keep jacking up their prices as much as they can get away with. Oracle, SAP, HP and Microsoft behave similarly except they don't have as complete a line up as IBM. No, IBM needs more competition not less. Sun is not just a hardware company. They have a lot of great software. They just don't know how to market it effectively. I'm not sure who if anyone should buy them, but not of they companies I've named above. I'd just like to see them market their services and middleware better with hardware from them or others as complete solutions. I wish they'd work on getting some serious brand recognition in the software and services spaces.