Within hours of the world trade centers collapse, Sun Microsystems put trucks on the road loaded with server systems to help its New York customers restore their operations. A few days later, it decided to go ahead with a scheduled Sept. 25 product announcement at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in midtown Manhattan: CEO Scott McNealy and President Ed Zander will announce a high-end StarCat server line that will scale to 106 processors.
"Mayor Guiliani told us, If you want to do something for New York, then come back to New York to hold your events, " Zander recounted in an interview last week. "Wed like to do it. Wed like to see our employees. Wed like to do it for the symbolic effect."
Sun lost its offices on the 25th and 26th floors of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, which provided flexible office space to 346 service and sales staff. The company has had to scramble to find alternate space. Some of Suns employees were in the building at the time it was hit, but all survived. Phil Rosenzweig, director of Suns Boston-area Networking Center, was killed aboard the hijacked plane that hit the South Tower.
"We set up an emergency headquarters in New Jersey and began pulling inventory from our East Coast locations and distributors," said John Shoemaker, executive vice president of Computer Systems. Many firms in New Yorks financial district are Sun customers, as are the FBI and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "We have made our full technical resources available to them," he said.
At the same time, Sun officials said it will be very difficult to get back to business as usual. Zander said customers are wary of putting their executives on planes, exacerbating the effect of the economic slowdown.