back to article Oracle will cut half of Sun workers, analyst predicts

An analyst has predicted that half of Sun's 27,000 staff will be for the chop when Oracle finally gets its hands on the faltering Sparc vendor. The depressing prediction was made by Brent Thill, an analyst with UBS, in a report yesterday, according to Bloomberg news. He said Oracle was likely to make the drastic workforce cuts …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Hopefully all those useless marketing and middle management wasters, though I doubt it. It's usually management who make the decisions and they look after their own, so no doubt all the really good techies will be booted, if they haven't left already!

    1. Nadeem Batt
      Thumb Up

      Totally Agree !

      One of the key things that Sun has failed to do in my opinion, is to drop the right people when it has had to do a workforce reduction, and make an effort to keep the right people from leaving and doing a proper and useful re-organisation of what is left after the excercise.

      Often the people who should have been dropped are the very people making the decisions. Oracle should wait to see what they have got, take/mix the right people into their organisation and then drop what is left. Not the other way around, ie let the middle management drop/keep who they want and then merge what is left !!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And 87% of statistics...

    ...are made up on the spot. I'm going to release a report saying that UBS are ready to dump half their analysts who make wild predictions like this.

    Or I'll need some salt and pepper to make my hat more edible, if this becomes true.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Yawn, another one.

    The problem with all these "analysts" is that they're basing their comment on how ORCL has operated when buying pure software companies - which is all they've done in the past.

    Buying Sun is an entirely different kettle of fish - ORCL will have to figure out how to run a hardware design and manufacturing business as well as the software arms. Since a significant chunk of Sun's employees are actually working on hardware or hardware support-related tasks, and one of the big attractors for ORCL is the hardware and the software+support which goes with it, wtf would ORCL go and axe 50% of the people?

    Piss off more than 1/3 of their customer base in an instant? I don't think so.

    I choose "WTF?" because there's no "head coming out of arse" icon.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Which is why they've been trying to sell the Hardware business.....

      Which is why they've already been trying to sell the Hardware far without success but don't believe they see it as a strategic investment.

  4. Ian Michael Gumby

    There's actually some merit and truth to this rumor..

    Look at it this way, Oracle is in business to make money. They are an aggressive company with an aggressive sales force.

    Having several friends who passed through the Oracle doors, at Oracle, if you don't perform, you're out. And for the most part, performance is measured by how much revenue did you generate.

    Of the major software vendors, Oracle does less innovation than others. Its more of a reactive development shop or it acquires its products.

    So if you're a Sun developer type and the bulk of your work is as an Open Source Contributor? Well you can expect to hear something.

    If you're in sales management? Well, Oracle has sales managers...

    The bottom line, anytime there's any acquisition, its an excuse to cull the herd. So any analyst which bets on job cuts, there's a good chance he's right.

    Not really newsworthy and an easy prediction.

    The pirate flag because its best to be a privateer. At least you know that when you work for yourself, you can always call your boss an a$$hole and not get canned for it. :-P

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    They NEED to do it

    For the last 6 months they have performed horribly at every turn. Inability to deliver products, unbelievably slow response for support, and escalations internally are met with indifference. The local Sun rep is ready to hang himself, he is convinced Sun is in the business avoidance specialty. I understand it's like this all across the US.

    Keep the technical assets, shoot everyone else. Oracle already has people to do those jobs.

    1. Pigeon

      Maybe not

      It must have been done already, then. I found Sun support top quality (some years ago, when there was a problem). A friend who worked at DEC (now CompaQ) moaned that staff cuts caused total demoralisation on the helpdesk. Maybe the cuts at Sun have already reached this point. If the techies are overworked, they won't be inclined to give personal seminars over the phone, or volunteer to take tickets from the helpcentre.

  6. Zub

    You're forgetting..

    You're forgetting that (I believe) Oracle are buying Sun for the IP and the PEOPLE. While Sun's backoffice may be 'expendable' you cannot simply cut the thousands of technical workers they have amassed over the years. I expect this is a long term investment and Oracle would be mad to cut the engineers that made Sun.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Reputable sources have confirmed that this account is false!! "It is regrettable that an analyst (Bloomberg, who apparently first reported this) can be so irresponsible without any facts." Especially when it affects many current Sun employees, who are already nervous about their future with the company.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Reputable sources have confirmed that this account is True!!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward


    What about the inevitable cuts at Oracle?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yea, Oracle folks may be nervous as well

      Yea, I'm sure there will be cuts on the Oracle side as well. But I think most folks assume (justifiably?) in buy-out/mergers like this, probably more happen on the side of the company being bought. In any case, yea - I am sure it is nerve wracking for employees of both companies waiting to find out what will happen ....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They always cut the ugly ones

    the ugly people are the first to go, the beautiful people are the ones that remain or walk of their own accord. Sun employees need to take a long hard look in the mirror, their future will be revealed to them there.

  10. Nadeem Batt

    What really matters !

    The percentage is not really as important as "which" people are kept on and which are dropped. As for the percentages then I really do think that both Sun and Oracle management should take it easy and think hard about the people/groups they select. Can always drop them later but very hard to bring back !

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Why is anyone shocked?

    This has been coming for more than a year and, at the rate Sun folks are quitting and sending out their 'so long and thanks for all the fish' email, there won't be many left to pink slip by the time the CIC arrives at what is expected to be by the end of the month.

    Nobody seems to know anything save for the fact we should expect quite a bit of change in a rather short amount of time. After more than a year of this BS, I'll just be relieved once it's all over, either way.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Financial Analysts need to shut the hell up

    You know wildly unfounded analysis is what got the world economy in the situation it is today. The prediction is absurd given that he probably is going on a balance sheet to balance sheet comparison. Since rumors of Sun's acquisition came out starting the winter of 2008, sales for Sun have been slumping in a huge way. That makes sense...would you want to buy a product from a vendor that might not be around, or a product that might not be around once Sun was acquired? If IBM had bought them, you know half the products in the market would have gone away because there was so much overlap....think about that as far as how much both companies have contributed to IT, Computer Science, etc. It would have been a huge loss for the industry and also reduced competition (and most likely wouldn't have passed anti-trust review from the US DoJ and the EU).

    Oracle buys Sun, with mostly different product sets. Except for Identity Management, Role Management, and Directory Services products (which are about equivalent), I would say Oracle's software products are superior. Beyond that, there is very little overlap. The desire to compete with IBM is an interesting one and remains to be seen. Given new statements from the EU prior to the end of 2009 stating that the deal will likely be approved given Oracle's statements about MySQL, we can assume that the deal will finally close at the end of this month or some time in February. So this guy couldn't wait that long?

    When did recent UBS analysts and traders have credibility given all the financial and legal issues that they and their company have undergone? (Hello! $40+ billion in write-downs? Don't tell anyone what to do with their money or resources. You clearly have no clue what you're doing).

    I think given the economic climate, when people are scared about keeping their jobs, having some twit come out and state that ~14K people need to be worried about their job is baseless (given that public statements from both companies and rumors of both thus far have been to the contrary). The statement was irresponsible.

    And if he's completely wrong, does he get called out on it? Probably not, but he will have scared the crap out of 1000s of families across the world wouldn't he. Good job.

    Brent Thill of UBS fails because he's a twit and a douche bag.

    The whole financial services industry fails because they need to shut the hell up. They're alive because of taxes from different countries' tax payers (depending on the company) and have done nothing in and of themselves to help spur the economy other than pad their own pockets.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Stop Dreaming

    "And if he's completely wrong, does he get called out on it? Probably not, but he will have scared the crap out of 1000s of families across the world wouldn't he. Good job."

    Considering the state of the world economy and the state of SUN's product line, a 50% reduction will be actually one of the best scenarios.

    The people to blame are senior SUN mgmt, board of directors and shareholders. I really don't get how they could tolerate the McNealy gang so long. All they produced was a lot of hot air and horrible financial results during the last five years. The board/shareholders should have booted out senior mgmt wholesale a long time ago and do some real work by looking for a proper leadership team.

    Instead they let them bungle with SPARC (aka "slow processor architecture"), and the Great Free Lunch For The IT industry (Java, OpenOffice, MySQL and OpenSolairs given away for free).

    Nearly all of the IT industry and their dog live off Java technology, provided by SUN, but SUN itself is quickly approaching financial death. How can you be sooo stupid ???

    Oracle will have to

    * kill SPARC. Slower than X86 and selling in smal numbers. Waste of R&D money.

    * kill the Free Lunch Software Strategy. Charge for Java and StarOffice. Throw away MySQL, as it is of no use as compared to Oracle's RDBMS.

    * Provide Linux on the same footing as Solaris. Customers demand it and either SUN supplies it or will do no business at all. Maybe Solaris must be axed, too.

    I am sure Larry Ellison will quickly cut the dead wood out of SUN and either make it a profitable systems/services/integration company or simply kill it off alltogether. Blame McNealy and Ponytail.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Stop Dreaming

    I'm not sure that was directly related to anything I wrote other than you stating why you think they should cut 50% of the Sun staff. What makes you think Sun hasn't cut overlapping organizations like marketing? What makes you think the Sun executives are going to last? What makes you think that that senior management who were worried about their future in the new Oracle/Sun company haven't started to leave ( and taken his lackies with him?

    What makes you think Sun didn't make money off of Java toward the end (

    Oracle is in the business of making money. I think you can forget about the free lunch software.

    Do you think Sun can compete with IBM, Dell or HP in terms of units shipped as far as any system nevermind specifics like SPARC or x86? Their value is in their unique engineering value-add like Sun Unified Storage 7000 series, F5100 Flash, F20 Flash HBAs, Sun Flash Modules, Sun Fire x4540s, Exadata v2. They're not going to outship HP on their DL380 G6s or 580 G6s. Sun can and does make their own networking, server, and storage technology (forget about the OEM'ing of HDS and LSI in the high-end and mid-range traditional FC storage space). Oracle owns the middleware stack and the DMBS space. Why do you think Oracle can't do the same thing as Exadata for the other stuff they sell so that you can just buy it, wheel it in and just run it with one throat to choke? What makes you think that won't be compelling to an exec who is tired of running the parts of his business completely in-house as far as racking, stacking, monitoring, managing, decommissioning, etc? It's very expensive...especially if it's not your core business but just stuff you need to support your business.

    What makes you think that Linux and Solaris aren't on the same footing? Currently Linux is on a better footing. Until Oracle purchased Sun, they were promoting Linux, especially OEL and offering support directly for RHEL from Oracle. Sun was re-selling RHEL and SUSE with their systems and providing basic support with their x86 systems even if it was mediocre. But seriously, would you buy Linux support from Sun? Why wouldn't you just get it from RHEL or SUSE?

    Solaris currently isn't at the same footing as RHEL or OEL, but will likely be soon. See Oracle Metalink doc 742060.1. You can start to see the change here with Oracle's database use of SSD/Flash technology. OEL and Solaris can use it, but RHEL/SUSE can't. An example can be found here with respect to the use of OEL and Solaris for Smart Flash Cache:

    Again, Oracle is in the business of making money.

    Get over McNealy and Ponytail. When was the last time Ponytail blogged: That's right May 18, 2009. So what does that tell you about his influence in the new company?

    Who has been talking a lot like during systems announcements like Exadata v2? John Fowler, EVP of systems. So get over the past. They didn't rob your baby or anything. Stop taking it so personally.

    If you think Solaris should be axed, then you don't know what you're talking about. Just because I don't use RHEL, SUSE, Debian, Gentoo, OEL, or Ubuntu I don't say any of the Linux distros should be axed. They all provide some value and have cool features and functionality in their own right. If you look at Solaris 10, you'll see:

    -Solaris Zones (free virtualization)

    -Solaris Resource Management (free resource management)

    -Solaris FMA (free intelligent fault diagnosis engine)

    -Solaris SMF (replacement for traditional UNIX start up and shutdown run scripts, plus more really)

    -DTrace (dynamic tracing capabilities of Solaris and applications to diagnose performance issues and bugs without impacting system load i.e. can be used live on prod environments).

    -ZFS - (free filesystem and volume manager that doesn't suck i.e. replace that expensive volume manager you're paying for i.e. VxVM/VxFM or that crappy free one you're using today i.e. SVM/UFS).

    -MPXIO - (free multipathing software that just works. Go ahead and test it in terms of performance against all the other load balancing algorithms from those fancy for-fee multi-pathing is on par or is better in terms of performance with what it has).

    -Solaris security - top notch

    Then you look at what's in OpenSolaris already and how it is enabling the Sun Unified Storage 7000 series to do cool things. I mean look at Time slider, project Crossbow, COMSTAR, Look at project D-Light with Sun Studio. Look how some of these things have helped BSD or even the MacOSX (like DTrace)

    The only public statement we really have that goes product by product is the FAQ they provided:

    That's why I said the UBS analyst fails. He doesn't know. He's just pulling random stuff out of his butt. In the meantime, he's a jerk because now I'm sure a bunch of Sun engineers are probably a little nervous about the future more so than before because some clueless idiot in a position of possible credibility decided to just make a supposition. All I'm saying it was an irresponsible prediction from an irresponsible individual from an irresponsible industry.

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