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Sun Dogs Dot Hill

Last quarter, Dot Hill Systems Corp.'s (Nasdaq: HILL) relationship with Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) propelled it to a healthy profit that marked a turnaround year (see Dot Hill's Alive & Well).

Now, however, analysts fear Sun is dragging down Dot Hill for the March quarter.

Industry insiders fingered Sun as one of the struggling OEMs that caused QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC) to pre-announce it would miss its numbers Tuesday night (see QLogic Dives on Shortfall). Now there is chain reaction of speculation about how that will affect Dot Hill, which supplies Sun with its low-end Fibre Channel SAN systems and recently signed a deal to provide Sun with SATA-based systems as well.

Merriman Curhan Ford & Co. and Lehman Brothers
downgraded Dot Hills stock in the wake of QLogic’s news. Merriman said Dot Hill’s Sun-related revenues fell as much as 15 percent from the December quarter. Lehman cut its quarterly revenue forecast for Dot Hill from $54 million to $49 million and its earnings forecast from $0.14 EPS to $0.10; and the firm dropped its full-year forecasts from $270 million to $242 million and from $0.63 to $0.50.

Deutsche Bank AG and Susquehanna Financial Group
also dropped earnings and revenue expectations for Dot Hill, though they stopped short of downgrading the stock.

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