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Sun Shelves Network Conference

Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) will not be running its popular SunNetwork conference for U.S. users this fall, the company has announced. For the last two years the San Francisco event has been the launchpad for a slew of new products and partnerships.

Instead, the hardware vendor may merge the conference with its Java One 2005 get-together, which is also scheduled for San Francisco in late June 2005, according to a company spokeswoman. We want to ease the burden on our partners and our marketing team,” she says.

A fall event would have followed too closely on the company’s sell-out SunNetwork conference in Shanghai, which took place just over two months ago, she explains.

However, there has been speculation that this is further evidence of belt-tightening in the IT industry. The plug has already been pulled on this fall’s Comdex and CeBIT America events (see Are We out of the Woods Yet? and No Tears for Comdex).

The last couple of years have been difficult for Sun, which embarked on a major restructuring program and also faced intense competition from rival vendors such as IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (see Is Sun Setting?). However, recent signs suggest that the company may be turning the corner (see Sun Shines With Q4 Profit).

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