Posts Tagged ‘iPlanet’

Sun Microsystems and Software

Monday 17 November 2008

sunlogoSun Microsystems recently announced they plan to cut 6000 jobs, about . The financial crisis looks more the excuse than the reason. 

Sun Microsystems is a hardware company in process of becoming a software company. And it looks like the hardware revenues are declining faster than the company can ramp up the software revenues.

Sun and software so far has not been a happy marriage. I worked at Netscape and later iPlanet and during that time I worked intensively with people from Sun. Sun has very smart people in the company, both in the hardware and the software divisions. Mind you, smart people at Sun came up with one of the biggest software innovations of the last 25 years: Java. However the company has been managed up to this point by mostly hardware people and this shows in their management and results of their software portfolio.

The portfolio of Sun software has been handicapped by a strain of mergers and takeovers, most of which Sun have failed to deliver both on keeping the customers, selling the acquired software to new customers and integrating the technology. A short but by no means exhaustive summary:

 

 

Sun is now mostly taking the open source route and having trouble finding revenues out of it. Sun does not have the corporate entries that allowed rival IBM in the 90-ies to ramp up its software license sales of the Websphere product ranges to account for the decline in hardware revenues. At the same time IBM has established itself as a services company, a strategy completely absent with Sun.

Interested in some software company archeology: visit the Mozilla museum.