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"A Close Look at Sun Microsystems" by Wall St. Analyst

"I like Sun Microsystems as a longer-term turnaround play," says Melanie Hollands

"The execution of the strategy of 'The Network is the Computer' seems to be lagging behind," declares Melanie Hollands, in a report for IT Manager's Journal just released.

"In my opinion," Hollands adds, "software needs to take the center stage in every aspect at Sun. In addition, the company lacks a global focus. Perhaps looking at the IBM model – prior to the PWC acquisition – could be a good start to crafting a renewal strategy."

"Sun is not just a hardware company," according to Hollands, "Why has it taken [Sun's own executives] so long to realize that Sun is a technology company like IBM and HP?"

Other gems from the report:

On Vinod Kholsa

"I would not be surprised to see how much of Sun's continued survival involves Vinod Kholsa [a founding CEO of Sun Microsystems where he pioneered
open systems and RISC
] and his group. Sun needs to grow the Java community (the recent China deal helps, but is not even close to enough), build faster machines and chips, and employ software and architectures that increase the computing power of the Sun line up."


On Jonathan Schwartz

"Traditionally Sun has never been a particularly strong marketing company. Mostly, it has relied on its technical prowess to convince the customer. .... But the good news is that this is definitely changing. Jonathan Schwartz, the new head of Software, holds a big wheel that he's got to get moving. The other good thing is that there are some fairly talented marketing people under him who know how to start the ball rolling."


On Java

"The Christina Aguilera sponsorship of Java.com (I can barely write that with a straight face) was a flop. The big plans to use the songbird sex symbol didn't work out as planned. I guess programmers still want a sexy PC instead of a sexy woman to convince them? Well, maybe not. But in any event, the launch of Java.com is a significant milestone. It marks the beginning of Sun understanding the duality of its customers. On the one hand, you have to keep those developers writing Java code -- now more than ever. C# and .Net are not completely dead. "Never Say Never" is the mantra at Microsoft. Secondly, Java is the hottest thing for wireless. Sun already has a large head start over Microsoft and are leagues ahead of Qualcomm's BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) platform. One way to measure that is the number of Java certified programmers, which at last count was over 3 million. Telcos are beginning to deploy more and more wireless data services, and all those games and applications that are going on your phone are Java."

"The licensing department in Java-Land is really buzzing. There has been talk about increasing the licensing fees to start priming the pump for one of the largest cash cows Sun possesses."

"The breadth and appeal of Java is how Sun will make the next wave of revenue. The will need to find how to continually find ways to lock developers and customers into Java."

More Stories By Java News Desk

JDJ News Desk monitors the world of Java to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards in the Java and i-technology space.

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Most Recent Comments
anonymous 01/30/04 12:28:09 PM EST

It is hard for a company to be good at both hardware and software. Sun tries to do both to compete against software-only Microsoft but cannot pull it off well or often enough to be a true software competitor. Sun can''t extract Microsoft-style revenue from Java; Java will thrive but only if it remains open and inexpensive (which means that it won''t provide significant revenue for Sun). Intel is crushing their revenue on the hardware side; Microsoft is crushing their revenue on the software side.

fletch 01/30/04 05:33:06 AM EST

The setting Sun. Sun has screwed up every chance they have had to do software in a big way...can you say Forte, Netscape, etc. Linux is going to continue to degrade the proprietary server market leaving them a Apple/Borland like marketshare. They aren''t even worth thinking about at this point....down in a burning ring of fire. Java lives on no thanks to them just like today.

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