back to article Sun Sparc guru splits for Redmond

In stunning blow to Sun Microsystems, the company's lead chip designer, has resigned. And Marc Tremblay is reportedly taking a job at Microsoft. Sun has not been particularly talkative about anything since the rumor of IBM's proposed acquisition of Sun broke three weeks ago, but a company spokesperson offered this official …


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  1. Damn Yank

    Marc Tremblay

    Marc Tremblay is a fellow, senior vice president, chief technology officer, and chief architect at Sun Microsystems. He has been instrumental in the design of various microprocessors at Sun, including MAJC, UltraSPARC I, UltraSPARC II, UltraSPARC T1, and currently the Rock processor. In the process, he has been awarded more patents than any other Sun employee [ [ Sun Employee Awarded 100th Patent] ] .

    He received his bachelor's degree from Laval University in Canada, and both his M.S. (1985) and Ph.D (1991) degrees from UCLA.


    External links

    * [ Sun Microsystems biography]

    * [ All his patents, at Sun Microsystems web page]

    * [ High Performance Throughput Computing] , Marc's talk at "PARC Forum".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Marc's contribution

    He has two "babies" in Sun :

    1) MAJC

    2) ROCK

    Track-record speaks for itself.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    THe talent's jumping ship

    Many very talented people are abandoning Sun. They know the party's over and it's been a miserable place to work for a long time now. My Sun rep jumped ship to HP and tells me that Sun's sales force is slowly walking away.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Its is not the technology stupid!

    Marc is a great technologist and Sun still have a few of those. Marc was always very passionate and knoledgable about his products

    The problem is - even though they have excellent industry leading technology, it still needs to be marketed. Clearly some new blood is needed at the helm - the current excutive is too caught up in the technology and have noidea of how to monetize it .

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    UltraSPARC T1

    Excuse me. Les Kohn was the architect of T1 as well. Rock was Marc's way to be as cool as Les. Sorry, it's a dud.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    ROCK is officially dead

    Mark's baby is without a daddy

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good riddance !!!

    An absolutely fantastic news for Sun, even though it's probably too late.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    All one needs do is examine the layoffs...

    In September 2008, SUN laid off 2,000. Notably highly paid white (yes, I said it , white) senior level engineers whose contributions over the years gave SUN the billions they had in the bank. These people worked and worked hard, solving problems across the company in an effort to bring some great products to market. Starting this year, another 6,000 were laid off. Again, the rank and file, the people that actually did the work got cut. Upper level management under Jonathon Schwartz have proven repeatedly that they are utterly clueless when it comes to running SUN. I worked on many of the microprocessors that Marc Tremblay had a hand in designing as both a product, test, and verification engineer. With no one to do the actual work left, is it any wonder the top talent is leaving now that Schwartz and his cronies have gutted the company?

    I'll be sad to see SUN finally set. But SUN's failure lies completely in the hands of it's current management.

  9. David Halko
    Thumb Up

    Marc Tremblay leaving...

    Writer says, "the MAJC Java processor, which was busted down to a silly graphics card, and the picoJava processor for running Java bytecodes, were failures."

    Stating picoJAVA was a failure is not accurate, at all. Just because it never went to implementation does not indicate the concept or product failed.

    As far as MAJC, it was very similar in a lot of way to CoolThreads, which is a huge SPARC seller for SUN right now. Killing MAJC and replacing it with CoolThreads T1, T2, and T2+ processors was probably the best thing that could have happened... for everyone else but Marc.

    Writer says, "His departure from Sun last week, for a job at Microsoft according to a report in the New York Times, does not inspire confidence in the future Sparc chips, even though chips are designed by armies of people, not one person. But you need really smart people to lead those armies in the right direction"

    Look at his history - it has to do with MAJC (threads) and JAVA (threads) - it seems that Marc is going to help another company with a huge problem (in threads) with his hardware and JAVA experience,

    This makes a lot of sense for Marc and Microsoft... at a time where his contributions are not really delivering to SUN's bottom line.

  10. Fenton

    Why would MS want a chip engineer

    mmmmm Good question?

    If IBM now does not want SUN which is the next company that could afford SUN.

    MS maybe. Get the best talent on board. Buy the company and let go of the dross.

    MS could wipe out java/mysql in one fell swoop that way. Get old of its own CPU architecture leading to more pressure on Intel/AMD.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, IBM wants Sun alright...

    ...Just not at the price and conditions Sun is insisting on. IBM is concerned about the contracts it has in place for it's execs. They essentially get huge bucks without any requirement for success. IBM's not going for a reward for failure compensation model. MS definitely doesn't want anything from Sun but Java and to kill most of its open source initiatives. They don't manufacture hardware, so SPARC would be moth-balled.

    Sun's been shopping for a buyer for almost a year now. No one was interested. IBM wants to pick it up for no more than $9.40/share, which is actually rather generous. Scott McNeely doesn't want Sun sold and he's trying to queer the deal. If he succeeds, he has no choice to push Schwartz out and retake the helm at Sun. Some analysts think that this is exactly what's going to happen, but that it is probably too late for McNeely to save the company. All IBM has to do is bide its time; it has nothing to lose. Eventually, it will pick Sun off at a fire sale price or walk away and pick up Sun's disillusioned customers (this has already started). Either way, IBM wins.

  12. David Halko

    @Fenton: Afford SUN?

    Fenton asks, "If IBM now does not want SUN which is the next company that could afford SUN"?

    Just because the company is undervalued on the stock market does not mean it mush be purchased. If SUN can execute on the next generation of CoolThreads (i.e. T3) or the next generation of UltraSPARC (i.e. RK) - then all may be well.

    A failure in T3 could potentially cut SUN revenue by 25%.

    If these two projects fail, there is still some teamwork with Fujitsu to enable them to execute in open SPARC, as they work with proprietary architectures like Intel and AMD... but a failure in the Fujitsu relationship could potentially cut the revenue of SUN in half.

    SUN really needs a success story with RK - this would enable them to start growing again and provide a new revenue stream to deliver a return on substantially extensive investment.

    SUN is poised for growth, if their execution is correct, but they are also poised for no-growth... if they do not execute or if the market does not respond to their correct execution due to the severe market conditions surrounding the recession.

    Another company owning SUN or even a new CEO may not be able to get them to execute the delivery of new systems to market in a timely fashion. There are some things which are out of the control of those individuals... they can only hire and fire people, they can't develop new technology, or grow an organization on new technology that does not exist.

    Who can afford SUN is not the question, longer term survival of SUN is. The same result will happen to SUN depending on their execution, whether or not they are owned by another company.

    Read --- The Soul of a New Machine

  13. Anonymous Coward

    is this SUN's new competition tactic with Microsoft?

    This dude is on the typical SUN fast processor path

    could not do verification, then moved on to do documentation.

    could not do documentation, then moved on to architectation. sun (management) sees he is actually good at it.

    when i heard he was talking about rock architecture, he showed he is a clueless engineer.

    should i call him a marketeer? only sun's management can decide to build a car with a invention of a piece of tire thread.

    anyone noticed he tried to steal Les Kohn's thunder on Niagara project? check the old archive in ACE' hardware web site. he can even put that T1 on his resume! what a shame!

    with one hundred patentations, all he can make were not-laughable magic and a dead rock.

    sun needs to have better way to sabotage microsoft. this one can not cut it.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Re: is this SUN's new competition tactic with Microsoft?

    That looks like amanfrommars trying to tell a joke. Pretty funny if looked at from that perspective...

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