Practical Technology

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Sun: Dead company walking?

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Over the years I’ve had mixed feelings about Sun. I like SPARC systems, much of the software, and several of their senior staffers are great, bright people. On the other hand, for ages the company kept going back and forth on such fundamental questions as: “Are we a hardware or software company?” And, “Are we a proprietary or open-source software company?”

That used to really tick me off about Sun, and, far more importantly, I think it also confused Sun’s customers, which made it easier for Red Hat, Novell, Microsoft, and IBM to grab Sun’s business. Today, Sun has finally become a true open-source company. Unfortunately, I think it may be too late.

Sun is laying off 15% to 18% of its employees, that’s between 5,000 and 6,000 employees, after a quarter which saw a $1.68 billion quarterly loss. Even before the economy started its nose-dive, Sun had been bleeding red-ink for several quarters.

I don’t see how Sun can recover. The bulk of Sun’s business came from high-end financial companies. You don’t have to know a thing about the stock market to know that the financial sector is a burnt-out husk.

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