back to article As Sun unravels, it's time for a new suit

With IBM reportedly breaking off the engagement, Sun must reinvent itself if it is to go it alone. That means bringing in a Joe Tucci lookalike to reform and restructure the business. This is a highly personal opinion about how and why it should undertake that process. First of all, Sun's board and senior management need to …

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Proprietary SPARC?

Chris, you do yourself no favours in demonstrating your knowledge of Sun by incorrectly calling SPARC proprietary.

Indeed, SPARC is one of the very few chip architectures that is NOT and never has been. You have always been able to license the cpu design and indeed the niagara designs are GPL.

Go ask AMD just how open x86 really is.

alan.

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As Sun unravels, it's time for a new suit

I agree with a lot of Chris Mellor's post,

However, and there is a big Howerver.......!!!

The general tone of the post is negative....SUN does still turn over 14 Bilion Dollars a Year, NOT A small sum by any chalk.. of which a large portion goes into research and development,

where I believe SUN goes wrong is in 2 parts, Having Something to Sell part... and then there is the NOT Shpouting about what it HAS TO SELL... Marketing..!!

If the model for Open everything was to survive, it was a large gamble to think that the likes of DELL could not end up feeding off this policy, by R&D that costs, to then give away, then hope the punters would return the favor by buying SUN's hardware is a real Gamble...

First of all, Quality was something SUN offered over everything else, Punters really stopped

caring about this a long time ago....

We buy cheap, and the cheaper the better, we lost the value tied to Quality, and Quality, from a SUN Point of view ment, COSTS, HUGE COSTS.... !!!! But in my opinion SUN was strong on this point, holding onto it's values for too long.

Open source, does turn this table a little, that is, think of the basic idea, develop the idea, then

skip all the internal test cycles to get it out the door, Slap it with a Open Source Stamp, and let

the Quality cycle happen in the Field, reducing costs... RIGHT....!!!

Sounds familiar... many Successful companies do just this... hence the amount of updates, and recals, and just generally bad releases seems to pay off, as we understand that cheap

means just this....

Second, SUN Has an amazing set of core engineers, innovation and technologies that come from the SUN Labs is second to none, so where are the problems.... Marketing, productizing, and actually having something to sell is where they suffer.

Thirdly, Seems that SUN IS Well positioned, across the technology horizon, from the Virtual Desktop, just comming to its own, as being too far ahead of the Technology curve when first released,

SPARC CPU's with Cores Lots of em.... and for many years...

Servers that are second to none, and hybrid,

Java of course....

Solaris Open, and Boxed... by far the best OS on the planet.. (Sorry but just Is)

Blades, that just seem to be WAY in advance, able to use a whole set of CPU's from across the industry, yet little discussed,

Storage, second to none, and for the deep pocket so the shallow,

Networking, unquestionable,

Clustering technologies,

Pack the whole lot into a BOX, a big one but in a BOX, and it's ain't ONLY in BLACK... and leave it it in the car park... or any where you please...

all tired to gether with monitoring and a whole set of Engineering waiting to help, eager to help, willing to help, and You have a Picture that say SUN... place a big Green, green and greener sticker on it.... and Voila...

Come on SUN, change your vision, You have a lot to shout about, and a 14 Billion dollar

Business, go to the market, shout about what you have, and be ready to sell it.

AND if it means calling back Scott, showing the door to Jonathan, or bringing in another, then

let it be...

Erhh and standard disclaimer prevails...

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Value for shareholders?

If Sun cared about shareholder value, it would have accepted IBM's offer of $9.40 a share or so. That would have dropped a nice $2k into my account this week, instead of giving me a $4k pain in the back pocket when the shares slipped $2 yesterday. And there's no upside so I'm out, period.

Fundamentally, Sun has amazing R&D, great engineering, and really bad interfaces. Why? Coz they never thought to hire a designer, or value the importance of end-to-end design and the user experience. For example, how long did it take to get GNU userland as a default for Solaris? How bad is the web site (compared to its peers)? How hard is it to customize/order anything online without talking to a salesbod directly? How much vaporware is it pushing as product (Sun Cloud, xVM Server, Rock processor, ...) The only exception is the cool OpenStorage interface that was designed in a San Francisco "Skunk Works" building fueled by late night pizza. Sufficient distance from the Sun campus seems to inspire greatness I guess. Far enough from JCP-style design-by-committee mediocrity. "Closures anyone?" Good luck with that...

So many wonderful ideas (e.g. Project Wonderland [NPI]) yet Sun is a jack of all trades and master of none - especially sales. OpenStorage is awesome, but NetApp kicks Sun's butt in sales. Niagara was incredible, but where's the T3 chip? Not a hint. And for all the hype around GlassFish, JBoss is billing nicely for RedHat - see http://google.com/trends?q=jboss%2C+glassfish for relative interest. (Fair enough, I accept it's in the new CONNECT stuff, but that's small change). "Maybe if we invent enough cool stuff (SunSPOTs anyone?) there'll be a market out there somewhere?" is the Sun M.O. - "Kick butt and have fun" is the mantra, but where's the butt kicking? or the fun? All very 1999 - but the party is over - ask Prince.

I woke up and smelled the coffee - and it wasn't Java. In fact I remember telling a Sun preacher at Berkeley back in 1998 that Sun should push scripting languages alongside Java - my recommendation was JavaScript - but he was selling the "Java for everything" cool-aid. How right I was (jQuery even comes in VisualStudio these days, and Sun's Cloud API is all JSON from the father of XML himself Mr Bray). Yes, they have plans for a script-friendly JVM - plans - but how long has .NET had the CLR? Sun lives in a slow moving cloud of delusions, telling the market it should want SSD or CMT when the customer apparently knows best.

Time for a change at the asylum.

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Silver badge

Walk Tall Order ...... AI Walk in the Park on the Wwwild Card Side of Life ...

...and Love is All you Need 42 Feed.

"This CEO should have a deep and comprehensive understanding of the existing server, storage and software industry and markets, and be young enough to lead the company for, say, ten years of energetic activity. He or she should have rock-solid technology business leadership and execution experience, and a proven ability to take a ramshackle collection of underperforming businesses and turn them into a coherent and sustainably profitable whole."

And he should be AIMaster Facilitator/InterNetworking Services Provider of Virtualisation Controls in Cloud Phormations ...... for in that Global CyberIntelAIgents Niche Segment ..... NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive Sector ..... is SMARTer Intellectual Property Power Transparently Steganographically Shared in the Open for Source ReSourcing ....... Self Perpetuating Advanced Intelligence for Global Operating Devices.

AI Concept with which to Generate Gain with Zero Pain.

And that is not really a Replacement for Anybody or Anything, but merely an Addition to an Established Operational Virtual Machine ... for it is a Completely New and NeuReal IT Power Field 42 Command and Control/Commend 42 Control.

Oh ..... and you forgot to mention, Chris, they should also be old enough to have discovered the Magical Secrets which only XXXXPerience and Relentless BetaTesting of Immaculate Access Protocols to Mutual Beneficial FailSafe dDelivery of their SurReal Creative Pleasures can Effortlessly Sublimely Provide.

And you say "A new broom might be best." ..... and yet you share a list of establishment names, successful in other fields with other masters.... which is surely a "teaching an old dog new tricks" approach to the problem when the problem is in need of being taught/provided with Novel Original Content ...... Eponymous Enigmatic Equitable NOC.

And that is Immediately Provided to Existing Management with a Suitable Dynamic Purchase and not necessarily via a Constructive New Appointment although, should it be a Perfectly Natural MetaDataMorph would it be AI Win Win for All.

Oh, oh, ..... and he should love Women with a Passion that is Theirs too, so that they can capture the Market and lead from the Front with over 50% of the Market Immediately Controlled by Natural Default ..... allowing a Vast Pool of Resources for Irregular and Unconventional Alternative Lifestyle Choices to be Servered and Beta XXXXPerienced.

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Gates Horns

Is this like a ...

... vote of confidence from the Chairman? In Premier League Football that usually means clear your desk!

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Stop

@ Kevin

You come across as rather impatient. Just calm down for a bit.

"Fundamentally, Sun has amazing R&D, great engineering, and really bad interfaces...they never thought to hire a designer, or value the importance of end-to-end design and the user experience."

Uh, no. Perhaps once a valid criticism, but no longer the case I'm afraid, and I do with people would stop repeating it. You know, you can't praise Sun 7000 series on the one hand, and then possibly claim the user experience sucks. Doesn't add up.

Ditto, if you look at OSOL 2008.11 (a GNOME experience that pisses all over Ubuntu), the interface for xVM Server, JavaFX, the UI improvements in JRE Update 10 onwards (using Nimbus, beautiful vector-scalable and lightweight UI set), the web BUI to Sun Java Web Server 7, or Glassfish, or Sun VDI, or the upcoming UI improvements to OpenOffice 3.1 etc...or the AJAX interface to Sun Convergence mail and IM client:

http://www.sun.com/software/communications_suite/index.jsp

I'm guessing you haven't actually seen or used the UI to some of these products.

"How bad is the web site (compared to its peers"

It's clean, uncluttered, easy to navigate and all the downloads are right there slap bang on the front page. All the product documentation is beautilfully formatted and centralised. It's not overloaded with Flash. It's quick to load. I can chat online with a sales rep.

In all, looks great and works great for me as a customer. What is your point of reference, please?

"How hard is it to customize/order anything online without talking to a salesbod directly?"

I agree that the online ordering aspect leaves something to be desired.

"How much vaporware is it pushing as product (Sun Cloud, xVM Server, Rock processor, ...)"

Sun Cloud is in EA now, I believe. They did have a grid and Network.com before that, so it's not as if they are neophytes on this one.

xVM Server - yes somewhat bothered it's been delayed, but consider that perhaps layoffs combined with an internal restructure may have required some resource allocation to get other more noteworthy products out the door? I imagine resource would have been diverted into Sun VDI 3, which has virtualisation at its heart.

Rock - it's well known that this features some radical architectural changes and the reasons for the slippage have been documented time and time again. JIS has recently stated it's on track for this year - and besides, where exactly have you seen this being "pushed as product"?

"OpenStorage is awesome, but NetApp kicks Sun's butt in sales."

Pardon me, but the product was only announced October last year. Local tech presentations of the product only happened last month in my city, and incidentally the reaction from attending Netapp customers was most interesting...

Anyhow, what were you expecting, sales-wise in such a short space of time in the midst of a recession?

"So many wonderful ideas (e.g. Project Wonderland [NPI]) yet Sun is a jack of all trades and master of none"

Oh please. Wonderland is at version 0.4. If you actually looked at the project roadmap you would see what the eventual 1.0 release will do, and there are many ways Sun could (and will, IMO) monetize it - e.g Wonderland + Sun Ray.

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Alien

Time for a change at the asylum? ... or Simply Add a Beta Class of Inmate:-)*?

"How much vaporware is it pushing as product (Sun Cloud, xVM Server, Rock processor, ...)" .... By Kevin Hutchinson Posted Tuesday 7th April 2009 08:34 GMT

Kevin,

Please consider, and then reconsider, the vapourware as Beta Stealth Fare, Market Tested and Embedded Virtually Already, all Ready. A Sort of Sophisticated Conficker, which no one, other than those involved in Sunspot FlAIR HyperRadioProActivity .... Solar Stellar Team Players/Core Virtual AIMachinery ... need necessarily know about, due to the Proprietary Code Considerations aka Legitimate Trade Secrets, which they would not be obliged to share, nor maybe would wish to share, because of the Obscene Advantage and Massive Financial Gains/Capital Transfers/Liquid Reservoir which can Generated to the Obvious Chagrin of Systems based upon proven Ponzi Vapourware Promise Software.

Softly Softly Catchee the whole Market is the Long Game being Patiently Played in the Initiation Phase One MeltDown Stage, which will be an Alien Environment to the the Naked Short Selling Thief and Board Room Pirate.

And it is somewhat odd, although Man's Stupidity is a Constant Source of Rejuvenating Ignorant Wonder, to think that in a Completely New Virtualised Environment as is CyberSpace and ITs Clouds ....the Generic Cloud ..... any would imagine that Normal Rules/Terms and Conditions would Apply, with Lip Service and Support for any Established Systems as would be Wealthy via their Present Dominant Controlling Position via the Various Artificial Levers such as would Currency and Banking, to name but one most obvious Failed and Failing Disgracefully System.

*As Dali is reported to have said .... "The only difference between me and a mad man, is that I am not mad."

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Go

Consensus achieved.........

Broadly it seems.....

The value in Sun is in Software not Hardware

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Happy

Light the blue touchpaper and.....

Poor Chris is gonna get an earful from the Sunshiners for that one! Expect lots of fervant denials that anything is wrong with ANY Sun product, that SPARC is The Way Forward, etc, etc. Amazing how loud those Sunshiners can scream with their heads so far in the sand.

Interesting that the Reuters article specficly states support for Ponytail, which suggest he has at least swung enough of the board round to the idea that a sale is the only realistic solution. If the majority of the board didn't believe that then McNeedy would likely have already pushed for his resignation.

All good fun!

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Time to throw the Pony out the door.

Enough said.

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Unhappy

@christopher

Ellipses are not your friend. Try to use two full stops less whenever you're tempted to use yet another ellipse, or better yet try a comma; they work quite splendidly if you only give them a chance.

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Moonshiner

Time for Matt Bryant to nudge his continually skipping needle.

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Pirate

Where's Alan Sugar when you need him>

He would sort them out in a flash. And we'd get to watch it on the telly too.

I know. I'm a genius!

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Jobs Halo

@Chris, disagree about Open Storage

Just Ask Dave Hitz from Netapp...

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Anonymous Coward

Don't discount Open Storage 7000

The Open Storage 7000 series is clearly disruptive. The mere rumor of it was enough to cause NetApp to sue Sun. And I have spoken to EMC employees who seem disturbed by it.

Sun needs to flesh out the 7000 to support more connectivity options (Fibre Channel and FCoE) as well as more feature richness (replication, dedupe, etc.).

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Alert

Only one thing right in the whole article: time to bring on a sub!

Forget employing another geek who understands technology and little else, thats the current paradigm. Focus on a finding a businessman who understands value and how to sell.

That will unleash the Sun open standards based open sourced IP stack from processor to application in solutions that make everything else on the market seem very old, sad and slow..

Sun had a brand that stood for quality innovation value and integrity. That is recoverable and in todays climate those are values worth investing in.

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IT Angle

Re: Matt

"Poor Chris is gonna get an earful..."

No, Chris gives opinion. You, Matt, throw pure, unadulterated, FUD.

As most have commented before, no one takes your comments seriously, as you obviously have a chip on your shoulder.

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@ Kevin

I really hope Sun finds its way out of this pit. Personally I like Schwartz's ideas, but he's a terrible salesman. I find it very hard to take him seriously. McNealy was a much better spokesman, even though his shtick started to get a little old.

"Fundamentally, Sun has amazing R&D, great engineering"

I agree with that, although the UltraSPARC-I/II years were awfully painful.

"and really bad interfaces. Why? Coz they never thought to hire a designer, or value the importance of end-to-end design and the user experience."

This was, and is still true, for many of their products. But they have obviously gotten the point and are building very nice user/management interfaces across all their products. And not just with the 7000 series storage! xVM Ops Centre is very nice, and the web-management interfaces for much of the "Sun Java System" (please, *someone* fire everyone in Sun Marketing) suite of products are excellent. The GUI for the Sun App Server is (for me) so much easier than the GUI for WebSphere.

"For example, how long did it take to get GNU userland as a default for Solaris?"

You assume that getting GNU userland is important. If you think GNU userland is a relevant yardstick, you need to explain why. I've been managing Sun (and other) boxes for a little over 12 years now, and GNU userland has never been important to me. But that is just me, which obviously doesn't constitute a reasonable argument either.

"How bad is the web site (compared to its peers)? How hard is it to customize/order anything online without talking to a salesbod directly? "

Much better actually. Compare the amount information available, the ease of access to that data, and the flexibility in online purchase configurations, as compared with IBM and HP. Sun.com wins hands down. It's not all ideal, but I believe the volume of information all these vendors need to present makes design and navigation difficult. I deal with all three, and sun.com is by far the easiest to work with, and the most "open" in terms of available information.

"How much vaporware is it pushing as product (Sun Cloud, xVM Server, Rock processor, ...)"

Irrelevant. All the vendors are constantly pushing vapour. IBM was pushing POWER6 vapour at much higher clock rates than they were ever able to achieve. HP pushes Itanic vapour. Everyone does it. Chiding Sun for having announced but undelivered products is unfair, if you are unwilling to do the same for the competition.

"OpenStorage is awesome, but NetApp kicks Sun's butt in sales. Niagara was incredible, but where's the T3 chip? Not a hint."

As someone else already mentioned, your comparison with NetApp is disingenuous, given the 7000 series boxes are less than 4 months old (GA was last December). The same for your T3 comment. The T2+ systems are only a year and a half old, and the T5440 only 6 months old.

Sun has a lot of work to do, and I don't have a great deal of faith that they will be successful, but I have my fingers crossed.

Mark

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@anonymous - I'm just saying "too late is too late"

@anonymous - you've followed the "how to control bad PR in blog comments" flowchart perfectly, by taking my points one by one and offering a counter opinion/observation. But the simple fact is that Sun is a slow moving beast. How long has StorageTek been a part of Sun and where are the "storage attach" sales? Maybe tomorrow. And where's the Niagara processor kicker for 2009? Hmmmm. Let's face it - Don Grantham went to HP with complete knowledge of Sun sales strategy, and now IBM has seen everything too. I never thought I'd agree with Goldman Sachs, but Sun is now on my "conviction sell" list too. Ding ding, time gentlemen please. Let's finish up and be having those glasses now. I just hope the economy improves fast enough for you to find a new job that gives you the same "work from home" fun that you're used to.

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@Good Engineering

"MS a much better safe language (.Net)."

Care to develop? You are not talking C#, are you? Eiffel on .Net maybe?

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Stop

Shareholders?

There are also commitments to employees, customers, and business partners.

This is all really about a lot of shareholders trying to wring extra cash out of anything they can

no matter the cost to anyone else.

It's like the gambler who, after losing his shirt at the craps table, uses a phony bill to defraud

the folks at the corner market after he leaves the casino.

A business that considers only the shareholders is not a business, but a fake, making those

running the business into shills for the "investors". The customers, partners and employees are

the ones who really get fleeced.

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Anonymous Coward

Keep It Simple Sun

Sun need to simplify their channel sales model and simplify their product propositions. Today they wind customers up with their tediously involved programmes, and their waffling, irrelevant messages around their products. They consistently fail to grasp where their volume market is, and treat it in the same way as their higher-end market. They have a habit of dictating the way customers should behave and coming across as a little smug which also naturally pisses customers off. A change in culture and attitude to customers and products is needed.

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Gates Halo

Simple solution

Perhaps some business angel with a spare $40B might step in here.

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Open Storage/Network

"This Open Storage effort, despite its coming in layered or tiered flash cache editions, with system software tweaked to use it, will not revolutionise the storage industry. Sun is wrong when it asserts that proprietary storage architectures will go the same way as proprietary server architectures and be washed away by commodity hardware and open source software, like Sun's Open Storage 7000 line. They won't."

Ok, care to ask your magic ball why does it say storage and networking will stay proprietary? Any base to fundament this? or only hot gas?

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Stop

@ Kevin

Yes, I (and Mark - thanks) have offered you a counter observation for the (mostly) blanket statements you have made, and it's less about PR control then giving a half-way decent attempt at breaking your post down.

Pity you cannot make the same effort, and with respect, your reply sounds rather like Mr Bryant's.

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NOTE TO SUN BoD: READ THIS!

The article articulates many of Sun's systemic problems. The Sun BoD meeting on Wed should start with each member reading it. They might learn something.

The company has deteriorated markedly under the past three years of the Schwartz regime. It is shown in the revenue #'s, marketshare #'s, channel partner survey results, employee surveys, and most notably the share price of Sun which has declined 68.5% since Schwartz took over. Customers, employees, shareholders have all suffered. Of course, competitors LOVE Schwartz (I know, I work for a Sun competitor. He's the gift that keeps on giving.)

In the absence of a near term acquisiton of Sun, Schwartz MUST go - along with many of his incompetent overpaid staff and delusional cronies. Sun needs a heavy dose of a proven business leader and not an unproven dreamer.

@Christopher: You said: "The general tone of the post is negative....SUN does still turn over 14 Bilion Dollars a Year".

A minor point is that Sun's trailing 12 month revenue is 'only' $13.3B USD. And factoring in analyst estimates of the just completed quarter (end March) puts Sun's TTM revenue at only $12.8B USD. The major point is that Sun's organic (own) business has had negative revenue growth for the entire decade with revenue additions from acquisitions providing the only real uplift.

Sun Annual Revenues

FY01: $18.25B

FY02: $12.5B

FY03: $11.4B

FY04: $11.19B

FY05: $11.07B

- 8/05 Acquired STK: ~$2.4B TTM revenues

- 8/05 Acquired SeeBeyond: ~$167M TTM revenues

FY06: $13.07B (Less than Sun+STK+SeeBeyond)

FY07: $13.87B (Barely > Sun+STK+SeeBeyond)

- 2/08 Acquired MySQLL ~$50M TTM revenues

FY08: $13.88B (Zero growth Y over Y)

FY09: 99.99% chance that revenue is down significantly Y over Y

Profitability has been accomplished by OPEX reduction (RIF's, voluntary departures), Microsoft settlement, favorable component pricing, and shutting down facilities built on late 90's visions of unstoppable mega-growth. Top-line revenue growth has been a no-show for 10 years.

In mid-2006, Schwartz and Lehman said they should be fired if they could not achieve $10/share for SUNW. But that was BEFORE the 1:4 reverse split creating JAVA shares - so they were really touting their ability to achieve $40/share with their strategy. Sun shares touched $2.59/share a few months ago - a 15 year low. It's at $6.28 COB 4/7/09 and likely to fall much further. The strategy is not working and will not work. Schwartz concocted a clever ruse that has rewarded HIM and his staff handsomely.

Sun's BoD is complicit in this faillure. They have proven to be irresponsible and have abdicated their fiduciary responsibility. It is well past time for dramatic change for the sake of customers, employees, and long suffering shareholders.

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Anonymous Coward

I dont' agree with the author...

Sun can actually survive and thrive on their own. The key is how to monetize their software stack and also not alienate potential customers.

At the same time, there has to be a rethink by the executives on how they can leverage open source software and how it impacts their products.

Sun has a lot of smart people, unfortunately they've been looking at the problem(s) from the wrong angles and their solutions are less than viable.

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@anonymous and Mark

Sun - "The Network Is The Computer" (John Gage [employee #5]):

March 20, 2006: http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/entry/the_network_is_the_computer

March 18, 2009: http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/entry/unified_computing

That's 2 days shy of 3 years (over 1000 days) moving from the Sun Grid (announced as available) to the Sun Cloud (announced as unavailable). A company with this pace of innovation in its core vision statement is unlikely to survive in the long run but then as Keynes said "in the long run we are all dead". Of course Jon would know that being an Economist.

I don't enjoy sounding like Mr Bryant, but Toni Sacconaghi called it right on so many of those quarterly earnings calls, when I wanted to believe in Sun, I really did. I once put 100% of my hard-earned into JAVA nee SUNW shares, because I could see how things could have turned out. I regularly contributed to Jon's blog to help provide useful (I hope) feedback to aid Sun's progress. No regrets, but obviously to no avail either.

Sun's share buyback program was utterly delusional and asks whether Mike and Jon's shared office is/was ever a good idea. Now Sun needs to hoard its $3bn in order to make loan repayments later this year and support remaining customer confidence. But this dance with IBM is not likely to give clients any "warm fuzzies" - if anything it is likely to scare off any new relationships and jeopardize existing ones.

My predictions are:

1) IBM and/or Oracle will fork Sun's open source software assets (just like OpenOffice)

2) The Niagara speed-up will be late (T2+ is a regular T2 with SMP, not a speed-up)

3) Rock will be cancelled in light of Intel's latest Xeons which are likely to dominate for years

4) Sun Cloud general availability will arrive in Q4 2009, missing key Amazon EC2 features

5) OpenStorage will grow at a wonderful % clip, but generate under $500m in annual revenues

6) OpenNetworking will take over a year to reach $500m in annual revenues

7) Red Hat's valuation will exceed that of Sun within 1 month of today (they can sell open source)

8) Sun's revenues will fall to below $12bn in FY09, and Sun will post an annual loss of $1.5bn

A while ago I found a good shrink and got real (well, real-er). I hope Sun does the same. Good luck to you, really, I mean no malice. I'm just calling it as I see it. Just remember "innovation happens elsewhere" (not "everywhere" but "elsewhere" with an "else" in the front, ok).

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Anonymous Coward

Senior Management Failure Primary Cause of problems

It is difficult to argue with the comments displayed in this article. The primary issue with SUN is not its vision, products or competence of its coal-faced staff – its in its senior management execution of those strategies. Many people have indicated the failure of SUN to develop its Software Business and its Volume Server business have been major issues. This article talks about storage as another issue. Yet for the last 4-5 years SUN's primary strategic focus areas have been Storage, Software and Volume Servers. Yet these are the areas which have failed and dragged the profitable areas, high-end and mid-range servers, down. It should be noted that these two profitable areas has received minimal senior management focus, or even a conscience decision to de-focus by senior management. Yet they have been the most successful and profitable. What can we learn from this.

A simple change at SUN would be to reward management for success (measured as meeting targets and growing market-share) and punish them for failure ( measured as failing to meet targets and declining market share). A possible reason for this not being implement could be the SUN CEO would have to be made accountable. Its highly likely using these rules he would of never achieved the position of COO, let along CEO.

Management Culture is a top down thing, if the man at the top keeps on failing and yet remains or is even rewarded, that gets pushed down to lower levels of management. This is a primary reason for SUN's woes.

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Flame

Time to change

The Sun management team has by definition shown their lack of trust in Sun and its future by trying to sell it off. (maybe the 3 X package was an incentive)

Time to get rid off them and do a reality check and please try to understand - it is about the sale, Stupid!

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Happy

RE: ACs

RE: Moonshiner

"Time for Matt Bryant to nudge his continually skipping needle." Given the rate of decline of Sun shares, you may not have to put up with my needling for long. The complete lack of confidence in Sun generated by this very public firesale will probably kill most of Sun's revenues this year, which should make the Sun shareprice dive go even steeper. Look out - delisting ahead!

Re: Matt

"No, Chris gives opinion. You, Matt, throw pure, unadulterated, FUD....." If you mean repeating publicly available figures is "FUD" then guilty. Of course, those of us with their heads not buried in the sand (or up another orifice) would call those "facts". I know you Sunshiners have a hard time dealing with unfamiliar things like facts or reality, but your misery should be over soon when Sun gets broken up, chewed over and forgotten.

".....As most have commented before, no one takes your comments seriously, as you obviously have a chip on your shoulder." Yes, but what really gets you is - deep down - you know I'm right.

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@Kevin Hutchinson

RedHat market valuation can change fast (as it did for Sun), remember they have only 0.5 B in revenue, last quarter they managed to grow revenues, however their earnings dropped... they have significant competition from Oracle Unbreakable Linux, CentOS, Solaris who undercut Redhat on price... and Solaris who with ZFS and DTrace is also superior in functionality.... With JBoss they compete at middle ware level with IBM, Oracle, Sun... not a easy task...

Sun biggest problem right now is this takeover uncertainty, they need to do something soon to restore confidence...

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Dead Vulture

@Chris Mellor: Please Understand Open

The writer Chris Mellor states, "Sun's proprietary SPARC microprocessor architecture and the hardware built using it is..."

Once again, a writer does not understand what proprietary is.

Merriam-Webster says "proprietary" is - "something that is used, produced, or marketed under exclusive legal right of the inventor or maker"

http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/proprietary

SPARC is a SPECIFICATION created through various groups of contributors, published, and implemented by anyone who wants to.

http://sparc.org/

SPARC is not owned by SUN, rather it is a specification which MANY companies, both past and present, have created microprocessors for, sometimes competing against SUN.

Historically, there have been many SPARC vendors - many had competed with SUN.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPARC

* Bipolar Integrated Technology (BIT)

* Cypress Semiconductor

* Fujitsu and Fujitsu Microelectronics

* HAL Computer Systems

* LSI Logic

* Metaflow Technologies

* Ross Technology, Inc

* Solbourne Computer

* Weitek

* Afara Websystems

I am not sure what the rest of the article says. If the writer can't understand what the word "proprietary" means, what "SPARC" is, and how those terms relate to SUN as well as other vendors, the article is probably not worth it's bits in transmission.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple and Sun

Apple would also provide the leadership and creative vision that Sun lacks. Sun has great engineers but horrible marketing.

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Alert

@Kevin

Kevin,

This is exactly why investors need to push to Sun's board that they need to get Apple on the negotiations table. If Apple were to buy Sun and or make them a subdivision like Filemaker Sun would be back in business. Not only do Sun's offerings complement Apple's but both company cultures can easily fit in. Sun can essentially become Apple Enterprise and focus on making entreprise software easy to use not only in Apple's creative markets and education but in Sun's current markets.

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