Sun on Wall Street

Posted by dave on Sep 21, 2004 6:04 AM EDT
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Today, Sun Microsystems is holding a news conference in New York City to tout "a new vision" for selling Solaris-based products to Wall Street and the financial services community. In the words of President and COO Jonathan Schwartz, Sun is focused on "reengaging" customers on Wall Street. He promises new technologies, new strategies and "connecting of the dots" for customers. Sound familiar? It should.

 Here's a look at some other high profile promises Sun has made.  Wall Streeters should keep them in mind tomorrow as they are "reengaged."  

  • SPARC III Delayed:  Originally promised for 4Q98, wasn't delivered until 2H00.
  • SPARC IV Delayed:  Originally promised for 1H03, wasn't delivered until 1H04.

  • SPARC V Cancelled:  ... that's one way to avoid the inevitable delay.
  • The once-mighty SPARC, now partly divested in favor of AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon alternatives.
  • Sun killed off the "Millennium" kicker to the UltraSparc-IV processor, its "Eagle" servers and the dual-core "Gemini" chip

  •  $2B Cobalt Networks acquisition of 2000.  These Linux-based server products were sunset in 2003.  Link:>
  • Remember "Sun Ray," a desktop computer unit designed to encourage companies to abandon traditional PCs in favor of cheap, simple, thin clients that shove most of the heavy lifting to centralized server computers.  Another attempt at Thin client that failed.
  • STAR Office - Office productivity suite that was proposed as an alternative to Microsoft Office.  Oops.

  • Java Ring - Wearable Java chip that was promoted as a ID management scheme and database interface. Never went beyond a tchotchke at JavaOne
  • Java Care Chip.
  • N1 - the grand vision to deliver computing as a utility.
  • Project Orion - announced in 2003 as a "breakthrough strategy" to make enterprise infrastructure software simpler to acquire, deploy and manage. How's that one going?
  • iPlanet and entire enterprise software effort with Netscape.  

  • Graphical user interface - lost to Motif.
  • LX50 -  Sun's "attack on the low-cost, entry server market, the LX50 was an x86-architecture entry-level server, supposedly loaded with Sun and open source software, the Sun Open Net Environment (Sun ONE) software stack, the customer's choice of Sun's new enterprise-ready Linux or the Solaris Operating Environment (OE) and a full suite of support services. Customers didn't buy any of it. Failure.  
  • Sun's own Linux distribution. Failed.
  • JINI - never came to fruition.

  • Java Station Thin Client -- The McNealy/Ellison "Mr. Coffee" dream never came to reality as no one would write apps for it.
  • Sun Midframe server. You haven't heard about it lately? Don't worry, neither have we.  
  • Sun's much heralded "Mainframe Takeout" Program.  A failure. Sales of IBM's mainframes are bigger than ever.

  • Gyro - storage architecture that was based on JINI.
  • Benchmarks - Sun stopped benchmarking when their competitors vastly outperformed Sun's servers. They still sit on the sidelines. Failed.  
  • JAIN -- Java for Advanced Intelligent Networks was a concept to push Java standards into the telecomms industry. Failed.

We could go on. But you get the idea. Sun has dug themselves into a mighty deep hole with empty promises. Witness:

  • SUN's overall business has declined by 40% over the past 36 months.
  • Sun lost share in the financial services sector from 2002 to 2003, with revenues decreasing from $2.5b to $1.6b.
  • In FY2003, Sun generated $11.4B in revenue, a decline of 8.5% from FY2002 and a net loss of $3.4B versus a loss of $587M in 2002.

Now Sun is trying to dig themselves out of the hole with more promises. This time, the promises are to a very tough audience - Wall Street and financial services companies.  Should they believe Sun?   Would you?  

Things have gotten so bad that Sun's own partners are embracing other technologies. Random Walk, a leading systems integrator in the financial services sector ( today announced a new partnership with IBM, in which it will provide IBM's POWER5 based servers to the financial services sector. Random Walk has primarily partnered with Sun Microsystems for servers over the past several years. Now, Random Walk will offer IBM's POWER5 based servers to its financial services customers. The press release is included below and both Random Walk and IBM are available for comment today.

Could it get worse?  It could.  How about the new study out just today from Walker Information, a 65-year-old firm that tracks customer loyalty?  Walker evaluated more than 50 technology brands in five categories: software, services, networking, servers and workstations, and storage systems.  IBM, which participates in all five categories, was rated as a leader in four. According to this survey, Sun Microsystems' customers were not loyal to it in any of its categories--servers and workstations, software or storage.  Repeat - no loyalty whatsoever.

After speaking to Random Walk, you may also want to talk to some analysts who have closely followed Sun over the last few years. Whoever you talk to - remember one thing. They have all heard empty promises from Sun before. The lucky ones didn't listen.

» Read more about: Story Type: Editorial; Groups: IBM, Sun

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
this is why ibm (and comunity) needs java to be open sourced mariuz 0 961 Sep 21, 2004 11:43 AM

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