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McNealy's Dilemma At Sun Microsystems

Sun Microsystems Chairman, CEO and President Scott McNealy has gotten a lot of unsolicited advice during the past year.

Analysts have advised him to drastically restructure his financially faltering company by, among other things, cutting staff and spinning off its Java business. More strident critics have even called for McNealy to admit defeat and step down from the company he co-founded and has presided over since 1985, a company most agree would not have its legendary chutzpah without him.

Some solution providers have noted this activity with real alarm.

"The bottom line is Sun needs to become profitable again, badly," said Marc Maselli, president of Back Bay Technologies, a Needham, Mass.-based solution provider that provides services around Sun software. "As a partner, I need to see them have uptake so they're profitable and we're profitable."

Others say that while they are optimistic Sun will eventually rebound financially, they are considering taking some of their investment out of the company and placing it in other vendors such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard, which are showing more profitability.

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