My thoughts about the future of Sun ...
I´ve stopped to think about all the articles from analysts or newspaper articles about Sun. Reading them leads to the instant urge to ask your doc for Prozac or Effexor. Mostly they are underinformed, heavily biased to other computer companies or just outright sensational. I don´t want to tell you that all is well in the sunny kingdom. But my outlook for the next 2 years looks really positive.
Albeit i grieve for anybody of the 6000 people (and will obviously very grieving when i´m one of them) it may be nescessary to to do so. We have to face the realities: We are running directly into a recession, many people think that the next years will be really hard. I´m inclined to think, that those people are correct. So firing 6000 employees may be the variant of: Seal the portholes, duck and cover. Albeit i´m a well informed employee, i don´t think of my self that i´m know all the data to comment this actions. Furthermore i´ve learned in the past, that the limited tactical view of an employee in a country organisation is sufficient to rate the strategical direction on a global scale. Of course i have opionions (and i have really strong opions as people who know me can tell you ;) ), but i do not tend mistake them with the one-and-only truth. No, i´m not hulled in a Sun-brand quality reality disortion field. Well, just look at the product announcement of the last few months. I´m factoring in many other developements that will hit the market in the next few month. The Sun Storage 7000 line has really the potential to make up for the errors we´ve made with NFS and SMB (In my opinion Netapp exists, because Sun wasn´t able to capitalize it´s invention NFS). There are other devices in the pipeline we have to rip out of the HPC peoples hand, because i see really interesting usecases for enterprise computing , even for the people with software from Redmond (no, i´m still not an offical leak and i won´t talk about them here)
I´m not inclined to follow all this analysts and journalists with their comments that just software, just service or something like that is the way to go. Okay, it´s an high margin business and it´s nice to have an flourishing software business for the quarterly results. For me it looks like some of the standard recipe, they tell to every company with hardware business. Do more software! Do more services! Eat more fruits! Aas a sidenote: Do we want to leave hardware development to Intel? The maximum trade-off architecture? Who should drive Intel to innovations? Do you really think we would see massive multi-cores without Niagara? Do you really believe that x86 would be so performant without AMD? This would the logical conclusion, if you just think there is a place for two competing companies. As Peter Ryan said on the CEC Keynote: We are not the third brand of Cola, we are the Jack Daniels of the IT. We are different … as we do things differently than others, we have the potential to create different, to create disruptive products. And those products will fuel the rise of the Sun. I tend to see Sun as a company, that just delivers a fragment. I see Sun as a company who delivers products, which are cool because of systemic features: X4500 (or follow-ons) and ZFS … Solaris 10 and UltraSPARC T1/2 … ZFS and Solid State Disks … SunRays and SSGD/VDI. Each would be half as brilliant without the other. I started with my concerns about the recent media coverage of Sun. But i don´t want to let you go without linking you to an positive example. Sometimes there are some articles who finally understand the way, Sun want to go … like this one - The story on Sun’s Q1FY09 results - a loss, or a fresh start? Sun and the future :
I look at last quarter's bottom line (03Q8 in the real world, Q1FY09 in Sun's financial world) as non-GAAP without the associated goodwill hit of $1.4B (more on that later). Those numbers aren't so bad ($65M loss) and I think more realistically reflect a transitioning Sun.
While I'm not a financial guy or a stock owner, I'm inclined to think I'd rather carry out this exercise in a recessionary market where valuations and potential goodwill damage are likely to be greatest. This seems to me to be a killer exercise in building a foundation for post-recession growth.
The revenue report this quarter is about conversion. Conversion to the new paradigm, and conversion to these new attacks on the marketplace.
I´m really inclined just to add one “word” to those quotes: ACK!