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Is Sun Setting?

Things are not looking so great for Sun Microsystems Inc., which is feeling the heat in both the hardware and services markets from rival vendors such as IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM).

As expected, Sun's quarterly report yesterday made for pretty grim reading. The company reported a net loss of $760 million, or 23 cents a share. This compares to net income of $4 million, breakeven per share, during the year-ago quarter (see Sun Loses $760M in Q3).

To make matters worse, Sun is now faced with the prospect of shedding some of the excess weight it acquired during the Internet boom. But there are other issues at the heart of this problem.

Sun struggles to promote a coherent message about its technology. As one Sun customer, who asked not to be named, puts it, Sun hasn’t been working hard enough at explaining their long-term strategy.”

“What Sun is missing, that IBM has been really good at, is that Sun hasn’t told a compelling enough message,” says Thomas Murphy, VP at Meta Group.

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