Sun in Trouble

By David Coursey  |  Posted 2004-11-08 Print this article Print

As for Sun and Novell, both companies are so caught up in their own dramas and so much at odds with the marketplace that the money will do them no real good. Novell has been trying to figure out what comes after NetWare for more than a decade now and has never managed a success. Had it not been for the Internet boom that drove customers sudden interest in Unix, Sun would be in much worse shape than it is today. Still, the company seems stuck with a bad business model, unable to jettison its hardware business to concentrate on operating systems and software. Sure, $1.9 billion is a wad of cash, but its still not enough money to salvage Sun. Click here for a column on Suns "Microsoft mistake."
While both companies will trudge on (and would do so even without Microsofts help), neither is in danger of seriously threatening Microsoft on a global basis. For that, you must turn to IBM, Red Hat and two competitors I will call "China Inc." and "India Inc." to represent Linux players in these emerging markets. This, especially the two new players, is what keeps Microsoft execs awake at night.
The Novell and Sun settlements arent something Microsoft really had to do, though it looks like one of the companys New Years resolutions must have been to get its legal mess cleaned up during 2004. And as with most things it does, Microsoft has largely succeeded. Sure, there is still a battle with Novell over Microsofts attacks on WordPerfect that both sides predict will end up in court. Theres also another suit involving Real Networks and the European Union antitrust action to fight. Still, compared to where Microsoft started the year, it will end 2004 with considerably fewer problems than it had when the ball dropped in Times Square last January. And Microsoft will have accomplished this at no significant cost to itself, at least for a company with nearly $65 billion in the bank. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

One of technology's most recognized bylines, David Coursey is Special Correspondent for, where he writes a daily Blog ( and twice-weekly column. He is also Editor/Publisher of the Technology Insights newsletter and President of DCC, Inc., a professional services and consulting firm.

Former Executive Editor of ZDNet AnchorDesk, Coursey has also been Executive Producer of a number of industry conferences, including DEMO, Showcase, and Digital Living Room. Coursey's columns have been quoted by both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and he has appeared on ABC News Nightline, CNN, CBS News, and other broadcasts as an expert on computing and the Internet. He has also written for InfoWorld, USA Today, PC World, Computerworld, and a number of other publications. His Web site is

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