Opinion: The Changing Sun

Sun Microsystems, once a great enterprise computer company, has been shrinking. Sun is also shrinking in other ways, such as the enterprise-only part, by entering to the consumer markets. Sun has getting slow at some things, such as copying off competitors.Editorial Notice: All opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of osnews.com

An example of this would be how slow they were to offer x86 & Linux. They however, do not offer Microsoft Windows like IBM, HP, and other major manufacturers which may hurt them. They are now doing what IBM and HP do, using their own systems to compete with the x86 servers. The slowness is about to change after the management shuffle.

Sources in Sun disclose that they “weren’t born yesterday” and they are fully aware of the current situation, they will be applying “basic changes” inside the business to combat the lengthy failures. Sun may be interested in some of the changes but its crucial for them to stay a big company. The company is willing to do alot to retain it’s size. Two examples would be prefering Solaris over Linux and SPARC over x86, but willing sell you whatever the customer prefers as they are interested in revenue. The company also plans to try to sell more subscription based software and servers, such as leasing servers and services for them. Furthermore, the company is no longer interested in Solaris, but selling support and services for Solaris.

One of the biggest things people criticize Sun over is not selling to low volume clients. Many clients that get turned away go elsewhere, particularly the x86 and PowerPC market. That might be changing. Sun is aware that they should quit their old practices of selling to high volume clients only, but while still concentrating on high volume. They might actually start selling to low volume clients as well. If Sun pulls this off without manufacturing a bunch of CPUs and boards that just sit in a warehouse, OEMS and online shops will be able to sell SPARC-based computers using Sun’s system boards and processors. The copmany is still considering this plan and say it may occur in time.

The marketing issue that customers complain is also changing, new advertisements are appearing on various high traffic websites promoting what Jonathan Schwartz says are opportunities, such as their Opteron server and Java Enterprise System with a hint of Solaris.
One of the biggest problems for Sun is the FUD that surrounds it, some executives plan to try all they can to counter it as many are currently doing all they can, however some do not think its good enough. Sun is busy working on changing themselves to achieve profitability as others criticize it so it seems they doing worse.

Sun has been criticized by open source advocates over various issues such as Java. Sources close to sun claim that they have done plenty for the open source, more than companies like IBM. They also hint that the pressure on them to open source Java is mainly due to IBM which is allegedly trying to use its position on Linux vs. SCO to take advantage of Sun’s Java technologies which make up the core of its software business.

Jonathan Schwartz has been busy, reading user comments and getting feedback on statements he has made to make effective decisions. Many Sun customers stand by Schwartz and McNealy in hope that Sun will get back on its feet and become profitable once again as Schwartz and McNealy say they will but it will take a little more time, likely not this or the next quarter.

Other than this, there is not much Sun will tell you. June’s quarterly launch event will be interesting. This company definitely going to be around here for awhile.

This article is by Tim H. of Rack64.com, a server administrator, sun customer and shareholder. Information gathered in this article was from employees of Sun Microsystems and interviews posted on various news sites.


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