back to article Sun cushions slumping Q3 with layoffs

A rather humbled Sun Microsystems blamed waning US technology spending for its third quarter loss. Sun's third quarter revenue dipped half a per cent to $3.283bn, as the company struggled to close large deals in the US. The slow quarter pushed Sun back to red ink with the vendor posting a $34m loss, which compares to a $67m …


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  1. Heff


    So, let me get this straight, third quarter revenues dropped 1/200th. half a percent. 38 milion in the red to a company that ticks over 3 billion a year in revenue.

    and a reasonably policy to address this is to sack 1.5 to 2.5 thousand people? for a revenue drop overall of less than a tenth of a percent?

    wow. I would LOVE to meet the beancounter that justifies that kind of reasoning.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    wow. I would LOVE to meet the beancounter that justifies that kind of reasoning.

    I can think of 1.5 to 2.5 thousand people that would like to b^Hmeet him as well...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Has anyone who doesn't hold shares in this stupid company not worked out what they're doing here?

    They run that fascist Jack Welch HR system where they deliberately turn over 10% of the company every damn year. So they fire anyone who doesn't fit in with them. You're in services, you refuse to learn Java, they fire you.

    So they fire all these people, give them a fat cheque for which the company receives *absolutely nothing* rather than having them around to try and find a way to make some more money (how do you lose money on that much turnover?!?) and then magically, a year later, the company has to fire the same number of people again because they re-hired the positions back because they worked out they needed all those people.

    Sun is always 'laying off around 10% of the workforce.' Why can't they be honest about and tell us that it's because of the bitter old man Jack Welch's stupid management book.

    Sun is run by clueless loons and has been for ten years now.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guess who the real beancounters are?

    Ok, blame the beancounters. But who do you think they are? The butcher, the baker, and candlestick maker?

    My take is that they're the shareholders, the market analyst and fund managers. Since most of Sun's stock are controlled by the fund managers, then the shareholders and fun managers are basically the same thing. So you're left with fund managers, and market analyst. Since most fund institutions have their own market analyst, and fund managers and market analyst are the same. The external market analyst basically are just rumour mongers, and great companies are killed by rumours. It's not about pleasing the customers: It's all about pleasing people who have no idea what the industry is about. Market analyst might have already sent recommendations to SUN to move from IT products to making cheap MP3 players in China.

    So who do you think the real beancounters are, apart from SUN being too management heavy for is own good.

  5. Laxman

    I hate it...

    ... when bad things happen to good companies (in my opinion atleast)

  6. Anonymous Coward

    The beatings will continue until morale improves...

    Just imagine what it is like working for a company that has endless lay-offs. Never sure where the axe is going to fall, not being able to plan any future home expenditure in case it is me.

    Sun bought StorageTek and effectively raped what was a good company, will they do the same to MySQL?

    Just hope I can make it to retirement.....

  7. Anil

    Sun is a good Company

    In hindsight, Sun made a number of strategic mistakes (such as not focusing on Solaris on x86 earlier, or opening up Solaris earlier, or not cutting costs quickly enough in 2000-01). Sun has good management but they are in a tight spot in light of the mistakes and changes in the market toward Windows/Linux/Intel systems. In spite of this loss, Sun is generating more cash and profits since Jonathan took over. So I don't think it will help to remove senior management.

    To correct some of the comments: Sun has reduced its headcount from over 45,000 at one point to about 34,000 today in spite of several acquisitions. If the revenue does not grow and you are not profitable, Sun has to reduce cost and people are the largest expense. Sun does not follow the "take the bottom 10% out each year" policy at all. As painful as layoffs are, Sun treats laid off employees as well as anyone else.

  8. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Anil - always the workers that have to bite the bullet.

    And this is not just a comment about Sun, this seems to apply across the board. The management make the plans, but they rarely seem to take the fall when things go wrong. I was amazed recently when a Japanese company we work with had a whole management team resign as their project had failed and they all thought it was the correct thing to do. In the UK, a similar project failure would have led to a blamestorming session and the removal of anyone but management.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Re: Sign

    "Sun is run by clueless loons and has been for ten years now."

    In my experience, most North American tech companies are run by oxygen-thieving idiots so there's no need to single Sun out in this respect. There's a certain degree of truth in the theory that the higher one is up the corporate scrotum pole, the less capable one is of making a decision. So it goes.

    Want to throw HR a curve? Ask for voluntary redundancy - worth it just to see the looks on their faces. Best decision I ever made, with the benefit of hindsight.

  10. Jesse
    Paris Hilton

    When is sun

    NOT performing layoffs?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Reduction in Force (RIF) should start at the top

    Let's change our Ticker to JAVA

    Let's do a 4 for 1 stock reversal

    Let's give up on SPARC above 4 chips and just resell Fujitsu

    Let's pretend the ROCK chip is nirvana and wont be canceled before 2010.

    Hmm....things to cut

    Get serious guys.... revenue and profit = a future and your future is looking like a drooling April fools joke

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    cut the ponytail

    the internal mails today told us…

    - its due to the US economy

    - “we” did all we could - “we” are good

    - IBIS ( the oracle CRM system which has proved to be the ultimate disaster) had not impact

    - Jonathan “I’m disappointed”… so to satisfy my ego I will sack 2500 people

    - and we keep having more levels of management between ground floor and ivory tower == ponytail

    - the big fear here is that Donald Grantham will once again not be able to make a decision.. and will simply cut 7.5% of all departments… hence making more and more departments/software utter crap instead of cutting off the real crap and saving the gems - yes Sun stil has gems… but management does not seem to realize this…. nor do they care as long as their personal bonus is paid out

    its time for a revolution... and Mr ponytail, grantham and the likes should be put against the wall.....

    Sun has good stuff... software and hardware... but it's (over)time to sack the money grabbers and get Sun back on track.... leading in development

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Headed towards the stellar graveyard?

    Is Mr. "No one _still_ working at Sun calls me ponytail boy" Schwartz to blame? No more than any of the other top executives there. Like many, who rose too quickly, Jonathan is a victim of his own success. He believes that he really is smarter than just about everyone else, rather than realizing that he is just very lucky to be where he is.

    There are a ton of things wrong with Sun, and fewer things going right. As for Sun's overall strategy, they do have a clue, but really don't know how to execute. Sun has never really been about execution. They've relied on being lucky and having the hot product at the right time. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

    Their chip strategy is tenuous at best, their software strategy could pay-off long term, they just don't have a clue how to monetize the transition from proprietary software to open-source and paid support services. As for their storage 'strategy' well, Sun's never had a clue and continually show their naïveté. Their recent announcement (covered in the Register) about “developer tools” for turning a Solaris system into a storage appliance using ZFS is just laughable. Even if they are successful in killing their competitors’ storage profits, Sun has no plan for how they can make money.

    However, Sun's real problems all stem (IMHO) from their culture of "be different", "engineers rule" and "If we didn't invent it, deride it". In my experience this type of culture rarely changes unless the board goes for a total shakeup. This can and does occur, ala IBM with Lew Gerstner in the early 90's. Though with Sun's board bought and paid for by My Sun himself (one Scott 'turrets syndrome' McNealy), a board induced turnover is unlikely.

    The more likely scenario is to die a slow and painful death by 1,000 cuts as Sun slowly dwindles like former rivals Novell and SGI have done. It looks like this Sun won’t go nova anytime soon, instead it’s looking more like a brown dwarf.

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