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Sun to Cut 5000 Jobs

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the less-than-ideal dept.

Sun Microsystems 214

codemachine writes "In one of Jonathan Schwartz's first acts as CEO, Sun Microsystems has announced that they are cutting up to 5,000 jobs over the next 6 months. The company plans to sell property it owns in Newark, Calif., and to exit leases at a site in Sunnyvale, Calif. Analysts will be pleased that Sun has finally taken steps to cut costs, but what will this mean for the future of the company?"

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214 comments

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Doh (2, Funny)

gentimjs (930934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444418)

And to think, just yesterday I was pointed at thier jobs page by a friend...

Re:Doh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444457)

I think I would find a new friend!!! :)

RIP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444444)

nt

In other news... (5, Funny)

m4c north (816240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444446)

Moon to cut only 1200 jobs (and Marvin gets to keep his).

Re:In other news... (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444841)

Zonk's Title sense is unmatched.

Jokes apart, this [slashdot.org] is the most hillarious comment about Zonks' Title Sense. (I wonder, why it did not make +5, though). Also, this one too [slashdot.org]

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15445344)

Why would Marvin the Martian work on the moon?

C'mon guys...a +5 and some AC has to point this out? Sheesh. Some nerds you are.

Hmm.. (0, Redundant)

x9003 (975950) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444460)

Good thing I didn't move to California for that Sun job..

You know what this means... (5, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444470)

5000 disgruntled ex-Sun employees band together to form a new company, Black Hole, billing themselves as the "anti-Sun" development company and creating a programming language called "Borneo." I can see it coming; it's written in my tea leaves.

Let's hope Sun gets smart and gets rid of the excess layers of middle management and their entire marketing staff, along with a few maintenance guys. If they let go too many programmers, the competition may reap a windfall.

Re:You know what this means... (2)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444503)

How embarrasing it would be if you had to put Sun Marketing Department on your resume. But yes, they must all go if the company is to survive. Java is probably the best example of great technology held back by completely incompetent marketing.

Re:You know what this means... (1)

Bohemoth2 (179802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444570)

"Java is probably the best example of great technology held back by completely incompetent marketing"

No. The Commodore Amiga is the best example in case you forgot.

Re:You know what this means... (2, Informative)

deanj (519759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444685)

To this day, I think the CEO of Commodore watched "The Producers" and thought he could do the same thing with a computer.

The "success" the Amiga had was because of the folks in Engineering, and it's user base.

Re:You know what this means... (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444672)

Java is probably the best example of great technology held back by completely incompetent marketing.

How about New Coke?

Just kidding. Seriously, I would use Sega Dreamcast as an example.

What was the marketing failure? (1)

schnell (163007) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445296)

Java is probably the best example of great technology held back by completely incompetent marketing.

I had heard about numerous problems with Java in the past (JVM performance, licensing issues, etc.) but had not known its marketing was widely perceived to be one of them. I'm curious ... what was it that the Sun marketing staff did that was so "incompetent?" Did they do something that turned off users or developers in the way it was marketed? Did they run big ads saying 'Java causes intestinal cramps' or hand out Java-logo clubs for killing baby seals?

Re:You know what this means... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444536)

Nah, they probably have contracts requiring their former employees to bite down on the cyanide capsule implanted in one of their teeth if they're in danger of divulging Sun's secrets.

Now THAT's a non-compete clause.

Re:You know what this means... (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444701)

I can see it coming; it's written in my tea leaves.

And what, may I ask, are you using to compile it?

Re:You know what this means... (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445132)

A new Linux utility I created -- tmake.

Sun's a walking zombie - the best are already gone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444769)

Yes, reducing the middle management and other areas might help. But most of the best and brightest, who made Sun what is was, have long gone. There are a few left (and a bunch who thing they are). And they are very heavy in outsourcing, which further reduces the talent avaliable to them.

Sun is unlikely to ever recover. It's on a DEC Death Spiril. Good riddance too, for helping SCO fund its lawsuit to eliminate Linux.

Insightful??? (1)

KuRa_Scvls (932317) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445043)

and to have thought that Slashdot was an intelligent community

*Smacks head*

Re:Insightful??? (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445093)

I have to admit, I was a bit stunned myself... but hey, them's the breaks with moderation!

In a related story (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444475)

Yang Yuanqing [ibm.com] was rumoured to be grinning, while wispering "..excellent"

poor developers (1)

Omniprogram (873068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444485)

its still always a dream to work for sun.

Re:poor developers (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444998)

Have you interpretted your dreams correctly? Perhaps you actually desire to serve the sun-god, Ra?

-matthew

Stock (1)

gargamel in a cave (775787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444487)

Time to buy stock in Sun finally?

Re:Stock (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445077)

why doesn't sun fire all the workers? this should raise the stock infinitely.

Re:Stock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15445265)

why doesn't sun fire all the workers? this should raise the stock infinitely.

No, they should sue IBM and linux users for copyright infringement, that will raise the stock infinitely!

Oh, wait...

Re:Stock (2, Interesting)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445139)

Funny you should mention that. I was watching the news the other day and the stock ticker was going on merrily across the bottom of the screen.

Most things were down. Sun started out at +.10 when I first noticed. By the time I changed the channel, it was at +.16

The company?!?!? (2, Insightful)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444491)

...but what will this mean for the future of the company?
What about the future of 5,000 human workers?

Nobody Cares (0, Flamebait)

gentimjs (930934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444522)

Nobody cares about what happens to the workers who get fired. You're talking to (mostly) Americans here... Unless its thier job being cut, they just dont care... :-(

Re:Nobody Cares (5, Insightful)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444556)

Nobody cares about what happens to the workers who get fired. You're talking to (mostly) Americans here... Unless its thier job being cut, they just dont care... :-(

And honestly, why should we care? What do you expect us to do about it? They're doing what they feel is right to put the company back on track.

Re:Nobody Cares (2, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444771)

And honestly, why should we care? What do you expect us to do about it? They're doing what they feel is right to put the company back on track.

Point proven, I'd say...

Re:Nobody Cares (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444923)

Exactly. A whole lot more than 5,000 jobs will be lost if the whole company goes bankrupt. It is not always entirely the employees fault, but look around you, how many people in your office are expendable? As in, if they were not around, the work would not get done. I am guessing it is a very small number of people. As someone who is working in a group that used to be a part of a small/medium sized company that was swallowed by a giant one, I have seen the number of non-essential employees balloon. Managers get budgets, and they want to build empires. So they hire people when the money becomes available, not when the right person becomes available. This leads to a pile of pretty good people, not great ones who can lead the system and innovate.

And honestly I have been marginalized down to a non-essential employee these days. I spend about 40% of my time doing work related to audit, documentation, and corporate policy requirements, not doing new development or fixing bugs. If I got laid off tomorrow, a whole lot of knowledge would be lost, but life for the company would go on.

Re:Nobody Cares (5, Insightful)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445040)

They're doing what they feel is right to put the company back on track.

Nnot exactly, they're doing what they feel is right to maximise shareholder value which doesn't necessarily have to be the same thing.

Re:Nobody Cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15445335)

Nnot exactly, they're doing what they feel is right to maximise shareholder value which doesn't necessarily have to be the same thing.

No, management is doing what they feel is right to maximize management compensation. They couldn't give two shits about what that does to either employees or shareholders.

Re:Nobody Cares (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445455)

Shareholders = investers...Typically the investers (you know the people who fronted the cash to make the business) should be the most important people to the business. While it sucks people lose their jobs, one could say they would never have gotten taht job if nobody invested in the company. Oh and by keeping the doors open, this ensures that all of the employees of the company keep their jobs while the investers have a chance of getting their investment back (with some reward for taking the risk).

Now what I think should happens it the CEO not take salary for two years, and that all of his upper management take 1/2 pay cut. But that would never happen.

Re:Nobody Cares (3, Insightful)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444880)

Why should we care? Of course it sucks to lose your job, but what do you expect everyone else to do? Do you want the gov. to step in and support Sun?

IMHO, Sun has been completely mismanged for a long time and these cuts might not even be enough to save them. It's a good thing that they are finally cutting people in order to try to stay open and continue providing jobs to those who are left. The people who get cut will presumable go out and find another job. Such is life...

Not true (2, Informative)

bADlOGIN (133391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444895)

Nobody cares about what happens to the workers who get fired.

Anybody who still or might some day work for said company cares. People still working want to know what happens since companies are creatures of habit when it comes to lay-off policy. If it's 3 hours notice and zero severence, people will step up the job hunt and take just about any offer to get the hell out. If it's a nice pacakge, they'll take stock in thier own finances and weigh the bail-out-now option against it. Anyone who might want to work for the company will shy away for 18 months or so (long enough to forget and/or tell themselves "yeah, there were layoffs, but that was almost two years ago and...").

Cutting staff is never a good sign and reflects a colossal amount of stupidity on the part of management. In this case, it means "we couldn't figure out how to make money with these 5,000 people". Unless it's 5K worth of mouth-breathing middle-management, it's a sad statement on the company vision & direction from the top and the lack of grasroots channels to communicate from below. Nothing worthwhile coming from the top, nothing able to break through from the bottom....

The real question is, how much of a pay cut are the top execs taking? What's that you say, zero? In fact you say they're getting fat bonuses? Yeah... that's what I thought....

Re:Not true (1)

crawling_chaos (23007) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445300)

Cutting staff is never a good sign and reflects a colossal amount of stupidity on the part of management. In this case, it means "we couldn't figure out how to make money with these 5,000 people". Unless it's 5K worth of mouth-breathing middle-management, it's a sad statement on the company vision & direction from the top and the lack of grasroots channels to communicate from below. Nothing worthwhile coming from the top, nothing able to break through from the bottom....

Or perhaps hiring them in the first place was the mistake? When times are good, it is easy for people to say "I'm overworked" and for incompetent management to fix the problem by simply throwing bodies at it. It is almost always better to improve productivity by adopting new technologies or by cutting bullshit internal inefficiencies and only hire as a last resort. You don't want to strangle your growth, but I have worked for companies that went under because they simply staffed up without any plan.

Re:Nobody Cares (1)

ponden (977893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444945)

Number of 5000 is large enough to forget the each life of the each people. :-(

Re:The company?!?!? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444580)

The writing has been on the wall for a long time, both for Sun, and at Sun. Those who chose not to read it and move on, well, I do empathize with them but they made a very poor decision. You can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding; personally, I'd have dusted off the ol' resume and begun looking for work in earnest when Sun and Microsoft hopped in the sack together.

Re:The company?!?!? (1)

Spectra72 (13146) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444662)

A 37,000 person company bringing in $12 billion a year in revenue is not exactly circling the drain.

Sun and Microsoft signed their deal what, 2 years ago? 37,000 people should have just suddenly given up on their jobs, benefits, perks, projects because...why again?

Re:The company?!?!? (2, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444607)

What about the future of 5,000 human workers?

They'll go get new jobs. We have a great economy and we're at more-or-less full employment.

Huh? (1)

gentimjs (930934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444887)

What? Everyone take note, I think we have isolated Tony Snow's slashdot ID ...

Re:The company?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444963)

Uh what planet are we talking about?

Re:The company?!?!? (2, Insightful)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445055)

If the economy is so great, why are so many former programmers and sysadmin types working at my wife's place of employment (a call center) for $12-15/hour?

Cross-sector numbers across an entire country are one thing, accurate numbers pertaining to a specific industry and location are quite another...

Re:The company?!?!? (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445185)

If the economy is so great, why are so many former programmers and sysadmin types working at my wife's place of employment (a call center) for $12-15/hour?

Cuz they sucked? Cuz they didn't add enough value over an Indian IIT grad even counting the costs of networking and cultural differences?

To legitimately keep a job, you have to have productivity per invested dollar better than someone else. Lots of factors play into that: your salary, your education, your reliability and effectiveness, but also externalities that you have little control over (such as the tax, legal and infrastructure systems of your locality, state and nation).

I think Paul [paulgraham.com] Graham's [paulgraham.com] articles on starting 'silicon valleys' is pretty spot-on but I think he leaves out the critical issue of taxes..

Re:The company?!?!? (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445244)

Under employment is not the same thing. And with this admin, underemployment is probably at a peak.

But keep in mind that this is result of the awesome economy that we had under clinton. During his time (with his opening of the internet), we saw such great expansion. Basically, the tech jobs that were created were way too many. Many ppl who came in had no real knowledge (a training class in windows sys-ad or programming is NOT real knowledge) and really did not gain much experience. Most have been forced into other jobs as incompetent companies went under.

Re:The company?!?!? (2, Interesting)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445351)

Of course this is anecdotal, but we've been trying to hire someone now for 6 months. Out of all the people we've interview only one was even remotely qualified and he took a different job. Have you thought that maybe those former programmers/sysadmins aren't qualified to do anything else? It's interesting because even through the economy down turn we had from the internet bubble hangover, qualified people I knew had no problems finding good, well paying jobs. Hell, I have 2 job offers open on the table right now. I'm just negotiating on salary...

Tell them to move to Boston (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15445424)

The job market here has greatly picked up; I have recruiters calling me every day to examine positions that they are offering.

JMP RDMND; JMP India; JMP China (1)

cpatil (955342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444638)

What about the future of 5,000 human workers?
Relocate to Redmond, where they are still sought after only to push the housing prices higher in NW OR Relocate to Infosys [indianexpress.com] which is seeking all kinds of Geeks in India & China.

Re:The company?!?!? (2, Funny)

stirbu (757975) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444658)

A little sunburn can't harm too much

Re:The company?!?!? (2, Insightful)

Brushfireb (635997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444719)

I'm glad you care about those 5000 workers. Thats nice.

Unfortunately, its also stupid. The company must survive to provide jobs for the other 25,000 people that work for Sun. If firing these 5000 workers will allow them some much needed restructuring of operations, then the rest of their workforce will be better off for it, and will allow them to make money and eventually hire more people.

Certainly, its not fun or easy that 5000 people lose out so 25000 people can gain. However, Sun is really not a place where executives are ridiculously overpaid. Hopefully some of those 5000 are excess middle management.

Re:The company?!?!? (5, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444898)

I'm glad you care about those 5000 workers. Thats nice. Unfortunately, its also stupid.

Well, you know, it's possible to have a little compassion for the people who are going to lose their jobs without suggesting that Sun was wrong to let them go. Nowhere in the parent post was it implied that the RIF was wrong or even unnecessary. So why all the righteous indignation? It's one thing not to have empathy, but quite another to be actively offended by it in others.

Re:The company?!?!? (0, Flamebait)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445061)

It's one thing not to have empathy, but quite another to be actively offended by it in others.

Empathy isn't offensive. It's simplistic empathy used as a tool to push an agenda which is. Given how much of that there is in the world today, it's understandable that people can get riled by it.

Re:The company?!?!? (1)

JulesLt (909417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445153)

On the other hand, they may end up like my firm - paying contract rates to hire back the staff it made redundant after things picked up.

You could see that as a win-win situation for the redundant staff, or at least revenge.

Although at least the staff knew about this before it appeared in Slashdot (I had a CV from a really interesting Sun employee who had just taken voluntary redundancy, and thought 'I didn't know they were making cuts'). It's hardly an unexpected turn of events.

Yes, The company (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444838)

We tend to forget that companies (from mom-and-pops to corporations) are nothing but a group of humans (investors, owners, board members, employees, etc) all working for a common goal. They need to worry about the future of the other 32,500 human workers and the thousands of human pensioners whose will be affected if Sun goes belly-up. So, yes, "what will this mean for the future of the company?" is a very important human related question.

Re:The company?!?!? (3, Insightful)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444875)

"What about the future of 5,000 human workers?"

Sun has been going down the tubes for years, any idiot could have seen this coming - especially once it was announced that McNealy was stepping down as CEO. Sun employees have had plenty of time to find jobs at profitable, well-run firms, or to at least stash away money to live on. I see little reason to worry about their futures - anyone getting canned has had plenty of time to jump ship.

Re:The company?!?!? (1)

jtwJGuevara (749094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445058)

It's up to them to decide their future. If their future consisted solely of the condition, ebb and flow that is Sun Microsystems (or $XYZ inc.) then that would be a bleak future indeed.

In a modern capitalist society such as the US, everyone has the ability to own something. It's the choice of these workers if they decide not to own anything that can make money for them and depend solely on the pay of an employer to subside on. As such, they shouldn't cry when said employer lays them off and no one else should cry for them.

in last 5 year, this is best time (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445126)

For the last 5 years, being cut meant that it was going to be difficult to get a job. Right now, there is a shortage of techies in the Denver (where I am guessing that some 1-3K will come from). So as to the ppl, most if not all will be ok.

Of course, according to the gov. numbers, they would be wise to pick up jobs real quick, rather than taking too long.

Java is assinine... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444526)

...perhaps the IT world is beginning to realise it.

Will they still be powering eBay? (0, Offtopic)

FatSean (18753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444530)

I think they have some deal to provide hardware or something...

Re:Will they still be powering eBay? (2, Insightful)

Spectra72 (13146) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444588)

You don't think the remaining 32,000 or so employees are enough to keep the lights on?

Yeah, it sucks (4, Interesting)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444564)

Yeah it sucks badly to lose your job, but it doesn't really mean Sun is going down the hole. It means they are cutting the fat. I don't know how profitable of a company they are, but this is typical of companies that are trying to be all things to all people. It generally means they are going to re-focus on their core market (what actually made them money in the first place).

I remember when Amazon refocused. They were selling so many ridiculuos (to ship) items, there were many products you could get at a local store that cost more to ship than the product itself!

Re:Yeah, it sucks (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444865)

Yeah it sucks badly to lose your job, but it doesn't really mean Sun is going down the hole. It means they are cutting the fat. I don't know how profitable of a company they are, but this is typical of companies that are trying to be all things to all people. It generally means they are going to re-focus on their core market (what actually made them money in the first place).

You sound like you're talking about GE or Microsoft -- huge companies with a very wide market presence.

Sun, on the other hand, is extremely focused, already existing in only a couple of extremely small niches. It is absolutely inevitable that such cuts will substantially degrade Sun's operations and innovation/product pipeline going forward (and dreaming, seen elsewhere, that it's all marketing/middle-manager is founded in delusion. If anything Sun is increasingly turning to negligible technical ability, and increased marketing presence, so those would be the last departments to go). However Sun's in a position where it has to suck it and take the cuts, because the market isn't buying what they're selling.

office space (1)

Omniprogram (873068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444569)

I bet it will be office space like situation there now. "Michael Bolton"...you can call me "mike"

Re:office space obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15445227)

"Why should I have to change my name? He's the one who sucks!"

It's a good thing: time to refresh things (4, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444572)

Sun's not-invented-here madness has kept them from overcoming the McNeely mindset.... one that pushed SGi recently into Chapter 11. I, for one, believe that both Solaris and uSparc technologies bring a lot to the table.

Their feistyness has been one of their biggest stumbling blocks for years. This gives them a chance to rebuild, cut some of their more insane projects and financial bleeding, and get back into action.

Sun has very goofy, fence-straddling legacy madnesses: Java programs, licensing issues, relationship issues, Microsoft litigation legacies, and all sorts of baggage. The faster they shed the baggage and go with producing assets, the better, IMHO.

Re:It's a good thing: time to refresh things (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445412)

The faster they shed the baggage and go with producing assets, the better, IMHO.

What assets?

Solaris seems to be constantly losing ground to Linux and since it's open source now anyway, they're basically on a level playing field with other UNIX support contract vendors (like Red Hat), except they have to pay all the development costs of their product whereas Red Hat/Novell/Canonical only pay some.

SPARC once had big advantages over more mainstream architectures. Nowadays its main play is huge parallelism, but not much software can benefit from Niagra levels of threading. Are there enough people who need this sort of thing to make it profitable (chip design+manufacture is horribly expensive)? If so will it fend off competition from the Cell?

Java is the biggest bugbear of all. Sun make money out of licensing it to mobile vendors, but J2ME is a compatibility nightmare and for all its benefits and smart design is begging to be beaten round the head by some competition (of which BREW might stand the best chance). Server-side Java is of questionable profitability and other companies strongly compete in the "enterprise appserver" market. Client side Java is a dead duck and always has been: the fact that they continue to develop Swing and Java3D makes me question their accounting sanity.

Basically, they seem to have gone on a decade long spree of giving away their assets for free, leaving them in the unenviable position of having a huge R&D bill with precious few money making products to support it all.

Sun set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444583)

Ordering stuff from Sun in Europe is a difficult process, unless perhaps when you have 1000 or more employees. The representatives they use over here (Finland in my case) are often arrogant and do not really know what they are talking about. They also deliver quotes that are just silly compared to the initial request. In short, if you run a SME, it makes more sense to order your stuff from HP or IBM.

class (1)

+_-repo-_+ (315890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444584)

Good timing. I start a new Sun class next week on MTP/MBM. I'm sure the guy is going to be lots of fun.

R.I.P. (0, Flamebait)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444599)

Hats off. Pioneer of microcomputers is passing away.

Sun - Corporate mismanagement at its finest (0)

brennz (715237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444620)

Sun could have jumped on the Linux bandwagon and been it's strongest proponent. Could have stood up their own distribution, and brought some of their vaunted engineering skills to bear in polishing it.

Coulda-woulda-shoulda

except it would have competed with their own cashcow Sparc business.

Now Sun is just the posterchild for companies with poor strategy.

I hope they get their act together. The new AMD hardware looks to be a promising start.

Re:Sun - Corporate mismanagement at its finest (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444770)

Here here ... I'll second that! Now that McNealy is no longer running the show, maybe Schwartz will finally do things right. Reality is that Sun put a toe in the Linux waters, got scared, and ran away. Meanwhile, that gave the competition a chance to build up their Linux offerings and eat Sun's lunch. They might not have wanted to compete with their Sparc biz, but the competition sure didn't hesistate to it for them. They need to ditch the chip biz and the Solaris biz, and refocus on their strenghts, putting together rock solid hardware and backing it up with second to none service. I wouldn't say Sun is down and out yet, but if they don't stop fighting the commodity components / Linux trend, they are going to eventually follow in SGI's foot steps.

Re:Sun - Corporate mismanagement at its finest (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15445072)

I'll second that! Now that McNealy is no longer running the show, maybe Schwartz will finally do things right. Reality is that Sun put a toe in the Linux waters, got scared, and ran away.


Wholeheartedly agreed here.

Meanwhile, that gave the competition a chance to build up their Linux offerings and eat Sun's lunch. They might not have wanted to compete with their Sparc biz, but the competition sure didn't hesistate to it for them. They need to ditch the chip biz and the Solaris biz, and refocus on their strenghts, putting together rock solid hardware and backing it up with second to none service.


Okay, in the low end (4 cpus and under) Linux has made some inroads, but being related to a Sun employee I know for a fact that at the midrange and high end they are destroying HP and Dell in our market, and IBM is holding their own with AIX and Linux. When Linux is as robust as Solaris on Sparc we'll talk, but no matter what the fanbois say it currently isn't. Eighteen year old kids running OpenSolaris on marginally compatible hardware don't count. Enterprise Sun boxes like the E25k have uptimes that put linux servers to shame, unless of course you drop a thermite grenade on the system in which case you'd better be clustered. My own experience with their enterprise hardware/software has been good as long as you have a support contract. If you don't, too bad.

The Sparc still scales much better than the Opteron.. for now. I've heard rumors that there are more heavy-hitter Opteron boxes on the way, and while they will run Linux the push will be for Solaris. Bring em on.

Commercially supported Unices are not evil, open source dogma notwithstanding. I had to lobby my ass off to get Linux into my shop, and even then I had to go with RedHat AS running on Dell with a support contract. Not that this is the fault of the Linux community, but the support from both suck compared to what we had with Sun. Our next hardware refresh is due next year and it is my intent to put Solaris on AMD hardware in play.

I wouldn't say Sun is down and out yet, but if they don't stop fighting the commodity components / Linux trend, they are going to eventually follow in SGI's foot steps.


I think SGI was just a tad bit more focused on a single area than Sun. If you want to make a comparison I'd put the McNealy fronted Sun in the same category as DEC. Hopefully Schwartz will put out the fire.

Re:Sun - Corporate mismanagement at its finest (1)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445074)

What, and make money selling it?
Since when is jumping on the Linux bandwagon the magic money making, company saving pill?

If your point was that Sun could have been a cultural champion of a Linux revolution, then perhaps.

Re:Sun - Corporate mismanagement at its finest (4, Insightful)

buysse (5473) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445147)

Jebus, you people (linux zealots) are nuts. Maybe now, with the current state of the kernel, could it start replacing Solaris in some of the places it really shines. Maybe. Probably not.

Here's the thing. It's really hard to make Solaris crash. I can throw a system load of 80 at a two-processor box and still get a response (enough of one to fix the problem causing a load of 80). It can run on a 216-processor single-system-image NUMA box efficiently, including some "self-healing" properties. Bank of memory throwing correctable ECC errors? Map it out. Processor that has ECC errors in it's cache? Map it out. Hotswap the board containing the processor or memory without a reboot. Users don't notice. On lower-end hardware, like the new AMD-based boxes, it will just map out and stop using the offending hardware until you have a chance to fix it. Isn't it better to have a machine drop from 8G of memory to 4G of memory until you can schedule downtime rather than just crash?

There's another, even larger factor. The government (one of Sun's biggest customers) likes Solaris. A lot. And they especially like Trusted Solaris, for which there's basically no *certified* comparable Linux distro. There's a lot of stuff painted Army green or Navy gray that has Solaris machines inside.

Did Sun mismanage things? Hell, yes. Was the major problem that they didn't throw out 20 years of engineering work to switch to Linux? Hell, no.

Re:Sun - Corporate mismanagement at its finest (1)

buysse (5473) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445182)

To clarify, where I work we run a mix of Solaris, Linux, and OS X, with a sprinkling of BSD (ok, and a couple of Windows machines and the old Netware cluster, but that's not my problem). I don't dislike Linux. Most of our new deployments run Linux. That doesn't mean that Solaris sucks, in any way, especially once you've installed the [plug] Blastwave community-provided software [blastwave.org] , which makes SunFreeware look rather inconsistent and incomplete.

Re:Sun - Corporate mismanagement at its finest (0)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445383)

Supporting Linux does not mean that they will throw away their solaris. Just look at HP and IBM.

But Sun has been actively trying to undermine Linux when it should be targeting MS. McNealy's attitude towards linux has been akin to Bush action about alternative energy. Quite honestly, McNealy has been Sun's worse enemy.

If Sun stops trying to gut Linux and supports it, it can come back to selling great boxes. As it is, they are losing ground just as much to Windows as to Linux.

Contract Workers are Still Needed (2, Interesting)

C-Shalom (969608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444664)

What Sun hasn't mentioned is that contract workers are still needed, in great supply. Even during, and after, the job cuts contract workers will be needed. I'm not just talking about 3mo gigs, 1+ year contract workers will be in high demand. If you're damned good, they may even hire you on. All their doing is cutting the fat, not the muscle.

Re:Contract Workers are Still Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444772)

My friend was a contractor there, yesterday was his last day and that off all the people that worked with him.

I call B.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15445372)

Sun was an absolutely excellent client of mine during the 90's. But I've found it impossible to get in as a contractor since.

Perhaps it's because my rates are high; I can command the highest rates in the Valley, and Sun has a low limit last I heard. Or perhaps it's because they are very big into outsourcing.

But whatever, I'd consider talking to them at least. The trouble is, one has to go through an approved Vendor; and none of the agents that I've dealt with either are an approved Vendor, or they don't have contracts there.

So show me. Show me where these supposed contracts are. Or show me an agent who has contract openings there. Or just show me an agent to deals a lot with Sun (none of the fly-by-night ones, thank-you-very-much).

Otherwise, I'd have to call B.S..

Come on (1)

tobozo (794087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444670)

... they're just pissed off at the missing clippy from StarOffice

RE: Fun while it lasted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444676)

Being an employee of Sun its not the best news in the world to hear this. Sun is a great place to work and while I hope I don't lose my job I don't think things look so good there since I started not too long ago, so I know my position ain't a good one. Best to polish off my CV's and covering letter then and prepare for the worst.

'Twas Ever Thus (1)

meme_vector (679135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444732)

Companies always shed people to become more profitable. Some try to avoid it by doing other things first, others look at headcount as an easy fix.

In this world of executives where they are rewarded for what The Street thinks, and the The Street only cares about this quarter's results, this is a BAU process.

Verizon is cutting staff again, I think this is iteration #2354 for them. Of course the work doesn't go down, it just shifts to the people left.

Re:'Twas Ever Thus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15445439)

Too true. I work for a consulting company on the site of a long-term customer who just brought in a new CIO. I knew as soon as the word was out that they were looking for one, our days of affiliation were numbered.

People are now asking, "Gee, are they going to let us go?" and my answer is, "Well duh!"

Always when there is new management in town, the first easy cheap fix is to slash headcount. Yes, they'll make a token effort to ask everyone how can we do better, etc., all the while looking to bag the easy elephant by cutting people.

Sad thing is in this case, the CIO will spend so much money, throw so much into disarray and like any other plump-chicken will lay a bunch of eggs (aka "Mandates", "Processes" and "Strategic Directives") and probably not be around when they hatch - leaving everyone local raising the chicks and trying to keep the business afloat.

CIO asks my client-side boss "Why isn't your team locally beefed up on xxx?" and it's hard for him to say that he has me doing the job of any 4 of his other people. The fact is he's limited to who he can hire directly; and since it's in California he has to be even MORE selective, but trying to explain this to a C-level (CIO, CEO, CFO, et. al) person looking to score a quick win? My client-side boss is smart - he knows I have to jump through hoops to stay competitive or he can cut my contract in moments and get someone else - without fear of some EEOC bulls**t lawsuit or something. Though I might cost nearly twice as much as any one person - because I do the work normally assigned to 3 or 4 others plus management overhead - he's still getting a bargain.

The client boss offered to hire me but their new CIO makes my teeth itch. He's a sniveling, beady-eyed little weasel bastard and places short-term bottom line results above all else - hence I don't trust him to make proper decisions regarding the company's long-term future. He's like watching a train wreck unfold in front of my eyes - but he's good at boiling down 100 pages of techno-speak into a single one-paragraph executive summary; which usually has little to do with the actual source - at least the 4 or 5 that I've seen him do, but it makes his other C-Level peers feel good about themselves.

In this case I have documented all I can, and am implementing my own transition plan ASAP to get me out of there. Not that I don't want to be there, but I want to be gone before I see that CIO ass-clown tear down what we've built just so he can make a name for himself. Don't get me wrong, if what we built can be done better, faster, cheaper, etc., and he does it - then muchos kudos to him! I say tear it down and rebuild it so I can go sell the idea somewhere else! By no means am I too pround to learn good lessons. But to change simply to make a name for yourself as "results driven"? Puhleeze...

(Damn... sory for the vent... but it was cathartic!)

Forget , what about stock options? (4, Interesting)

SangoDaze (78611) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444735)

I took a Unix systems programming class from Sun about five years ago and it was very good. The only downside to the class were the attitudes of some of the Sun employees that were in there. They repeatedly told the rest of the class that they "didn't really need to know this stuff" and that they were "web guys" or "java gui guys" and that the nuts and bolts of Unix were tangential. When they were in the room they spent most of their time talking about the price of Sun's stock. It was hard to imagine how the company was going to go forward when so many employees seemed to think that their core products (Unix servers) were not really worthy of learning about.

I really like Sun's stuff and I hope that they are able to make a big comeback; but they are not going to do it counting on the folks that were in my class.

Re:Forget , what about stock options? (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445331)

The majority of programmers everywhere are like that, in my experience. Sure, the real genius hackers are going to know just about everything about everything, but most developers just focus on their chosen niche. Sounds like they just selected the wrong instructors for teh class you were taking. I would, however, be concerned about people focussed on the price of their stock options.

-matthew

i doubt these jobs are disappearing (3, Interesting)

castlec (546341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444778)

I know people who work for Sun here in CZ. I also went through their interview process while I was looking for a job in January. Sun decided a long time ago that continued investment in the US was a waste of money. They directly told me they had no interest in having new employees in the US. Their operations have been growing in eastern Europe and India. The layoffs come as no surprise to me at all. They have been creating the redundancy to be able to let go of people for a while.

With Free Open Source Linux, Who Needs To Pay Sun? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444785)

Is anyone surprised by this? Really? You can find hardware just about anywhere that is cheaper and runs Linux. Large SUN systems are just going the way of the dino and with Linux being free - there just isn't a need for a company like this any more. The more FOSS makes in-roads into corporations and even small business - the more we'll see of things like this.

I am suprised (1)

woodsrunner (746751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445275)

Sun hardware rocks. Seriously, would you rather run a 32 bit consumer dell box built to the cheapest possible denominator or a 64 bit Sun Solaris box built to withstand industrial abuse? If your just playing around, I am sure a dell is fine if you want to spend most of your time tracking down hardware failures in riser cards. You get what you pay for and cheaper hardware is just that, cheaper.

I was a Dell technician who used to fly out to remote installations to fix the dumbest hardware failures that just don't happen with a Sun box. I don't work for Sun. I work in an IBM shop where we run linux and the stuff is nice. At home, I run Solaris on a 64 bit sparc. I like linux but the difference between Solaris and Linux is night and day. Yes there are some Linux features I wish were in Solaris, but overall Solaris X is faster and more stable and has some awesome features.

Hopefully people will see the value of Sun. You can find the "overpriced" hardware dirt cheap used. Pick some up. You will be amazed. The difference between Sun and Dell mechanically is like the difference between a high end road bike that fits you well and a cheap bike from Walmart: both will get you down the road, but the one that rides better is immediately noticeable.

You can also run Solaris on X86 architecture. Download it for free and fire it up, the performance will amaze you.

business model? (4, Insightful)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444822)

what exactly is Sun's business model? java is free, their hardware is expensive, linux is also free, and thin clients are great but not what the market wants. are they a hardware company like apple, or a software company like microsoft? or are they a services company?

Re:business model? (1, Interesting)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445104)

From personal experience, we *used* to buy Sun because they had top notch hardware (E450 being the glaring exception ... POS) and top notch service. Solaris never factored into our equation. Like I've said repeatedly, kill that sick Solaris horse, it's time has come and gone, hanging on to it will only serve to sink the ship. The market wants Linux, in fact it's been a few YEARS since we looked at Solaris in our stack, at least in house. Sun needs to dump Solaris, and make a firm stand behind Linux. Sadly, I think that by open sourcing Solaris, they somehow think this will make it more competitive with Linux, hopefully the new CEO understands that the market doesn't want OpenSolaris, that stategy is about 7 years too late. I'd like to be able to source mid range x86 hardware from Sun. Their Fire X line is good, but it's tough to sell Sun and Linux on a project, unlike HP or IBM with Linux.

Sensible move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444828)

Its always nasty when you loose your job but this is long over due to be honest. Sun's workforce is still huge (a shade under 40,000). The StorageTek acquisition has swelled it beyond a sustainable point. Sun's results have been hovering just below the break-even mark in recent quarters. Today's cuts should push the company into the black during many, if not all, 3 month periods. Posting a small, tidy profit will keep many of the critics quiet as Sun continues to rework its business becoming more of a software company and less of a hardware company and this can only be a good thing I think.

As a former employee ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15444832)

I used to work for Sun,
so I am really getting a kick out of most of these comments. Some of you guys are very good at making it sound like you know what you are talking about. But trust me: you don't.

I think you just want to make yourself sound smart, when in reality you don't know what you are talking about. This is how bad info gets passed around. If you don't know about the topic don't make yourself sound like you do.

In other news... (2, Funny)

Funkcikle (630170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444839)

Remaining Sun employees to be paid in Grid computing hours.

Lawyers? (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15444863)

I think what we all want to know is...

How many of these jobs were for lawyers who write up new "open source" licenses?

More informative link (5, Informative)

gh (68417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445019)

Jonathan Schwartz's blog says a lot more behind the decision to cut the 5,000 employees. You may or may not agree with the decision, but it's far more informative about the direction Sun is heading in than the /. submission link.

http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/jonathan?entry=ph ase_2 [sun.com]

Explains the new Sun building in Hyderabad, India. (2, Interesting)

goodgautam (978510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15445272)

I Guess this explains the new Sun Microsystems building I see getting built in my city....
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