Merrill Lynch rips Sun Microsystems

Merrill Lynch’s top analysts put out a scathing report about Sun that said that Sun is in danger of becoming irrelevant and of being acquired unless it fires thousands of workers and refocus its business. Wow. I’ve been saying the same thing for a while now and I think this report just hit it right on the head.

Sun really hasn’t had a strategy as far as their business is concerned. Sun is a hardware company that is trying to become a software company. As an ex-shareholder I followed Sun waste billions on buying application servers like Kiva, NetPerceptions, Netscape and then Forte to throw it all away. Then they buy NetBeans and rebrand it as Forte. Billions down the drain — And can anyone explain to me the deal Sun made with AOL and what the Netscape division bought it.

It appears that Scott McNealy and Sun got lucky. The revolution came at the right time where money was free and people didn’t think anything about spending millions on over-priced hardware. Java is another example of how Sun can’t do anything right. Sun owns Java and still can’t figure out how to make money on it. Owning Java would make you think they could make the fastest VM out there. No, BEA does that with JRockit for Windows, Linux and maybe even Solaris. BEA is not talking about JRockit for Solaris, but I’m sure they are working on one if they don’t have one already. And you can bet that it will be faster than the SunSoft JVM for Solaris.

Then there’s the whole iPlanet thing. So a hardware company that makes most if not all of its money on hardware is going to put out software to compete with companies that are responsible for its own hardware sales. That make any sense? No, but that’s exactly what they did to BEA by bundling iPlanet with the Solaris OS. BEA was responsible for the most Sun hardware sales after Oracle and that’s changing as Sun started competing with BEA on the software front.

Linux is another major misstep for Sun. Instead of adopting an OS that could make them money by selling hardware, they fought it, and spread FUD about it. You think they would have learned the lesson of Digital and the Alpha chips – Digital ignored Linux and didn’t realize till the end that their VARs were selling more Alpha boxes with Linux than OpenVMS and DigitalUnix. But it was too late. And I think Sun is in the same boat. They are about to become irrelevant in the hardware business.

And then there is Microsoft. Ok – Scott McNealy is really jealous of Bill Gates and Microsoft’s success and so Sun has made its mission to destroy Microsoft. Now that sounds like a good business plan. Sun really don’t have any ideas of their own, but they just do the exact opposite of Microsoft. Project Orion is just a simple grab for cash. And if I sound bitter, I am. I watched my Sun (Nasdaq: SUNW) stock go down for $120.00 to pretty much nothing. And I would have stuck around with the company if they had showed me something.. anything. I’m not picky. Just give me some idea that you know what you are doing. Nothing yet.

PS: The views and opinions expressed on this page are my personal opinion and in no way reflect the opinion or position of the company I work for or it’s other employees.