Sun eclipsed?

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Sun Microsystems has such a big image problem. Everyone (except their hard core customers) believe that the company is going to hell, and the media keeps harping on this all the time. Not a week passes when someone or the other decides to trash Sun. Here is the latest example.

bq. Sun Microsystems chief executive Scott McNealy has spent the last two days in endless rounds of meetings with customers and the media at his company’s first European user conference in Berlin, and question of Sun’s financial situation and future prospects have cropped up on more than one occasion. (From C/Net

It is clear that media has turned against them, and every negative story reinforces the stereotype. Even their biggest fan, Steve Milunovich of Merrill Lynch turned his back on them. (Oh wait, that had something to do with the resignation of Ed Zander. Never mind!) I think the big issue here is that all that boasting during the bubble has made people immune to what Sun says. They should try and keep Scott’s mouth taped shut. The more he speaks, the more we disbelieve this company because this man could not shut his trap during the boom.

No one simply listens to them, even if they are reporting good news. For instance yesterday they launched a lot of AMD-based “low cost” and “medium cost” servers which can go toe to toe with HP, IBM and even Dell. Actually in terms of total cost (per CPU) which includes software, Sun might be the cheapest option, and yes they support and offer Linux servers. So why the negativity?

Especially when compared to HP which seems to be a company having an even bigger identity crisis. Sun still is a preferred supplier to telecom industry. Most of the future telecom spending is on software, which does not run on Linux. Instead it runs on Sun SPARC machines and Solaris. (Read this very old article of mine from!) Most of the softswitches that are powering the VoIP-based phone services run on Solaris.

Clearly Sun should not have this problem, for it has armies of PR people. What Sun needs is a clear and coherent communications strategy. That alone should get things going.

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