Sun CEO: Were Ready to Grow in the Participation Age

During Sun's annual customer event in New York, Jonathan Schwartz tells the audience that customers want choices and his company is ready to deliver.

With back-to-back solid quarterly financial results in the bank, Sun Mi-crosystems President and CEO Jonathan Schwartz stepped on stage Sept. 13 and tried to convince Wall Street that the company has landed solidly on the comeback trail.

Schwartz, who has been the companys top executive for just over 100 days, came to New York City and told an audience at the companys annual customer event how Sun has re-evaluated itself and returned to a core business model of offering innova-tions for a growing marketplace.

As the Internet moves from a passive stage to what Schwartz called a "Participation Age," the demands of customers for better infrastructure will begin to drive more and more of the market-place and ultimately drive Suns growth and profitability.

"Its about services," Schwartz said. "Its about serving cus-tomers; its about serving individuals as well as serving the busi-nesses that are trying to reach these individuals."

What Schwartz said he hoped to do was take that potential and create a 4 percent operating margin for Sun by the end of the year.

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To help grow and achieve this operating margin, Schwartz said Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif., would have to rely on innovation as well as the adoption of its technology in the market place. He pointed to the use of Java in handheld devices and desktops and that the company had now sold some 6 millions licenses for its Solaris 10 operating system.

The next step is now to combine what Schwartz called the four Ss – security, storage, servers and service – and spread those innovations across all platforms, including open source environ-ments. Sun wants to move farther away from point products and more towards solutions offerings, according to officials.

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To help with that, Schwartz and Sun offered a number of new products, which they hope will place them on the cutting edge of technology that helped define the companys early success.

There were the improvements in the low-end SPARC sys-tems, which run on the UltraSPARC IIIi chips, and new blade servers geared toward the telecommunications industry and pow-ered by its UltraSPARC T1 "Niagara" chips, which offer up to eight processing cores. Sun executives see those processors as the driver of its low-end SPARC offerings.

In addition to the updates to its own products, Schwartz an-nounced that Sun had developed a new partnership with Accen-ture, a systems integrator and consulting company, to help de-velop a service-oriented architecture—or SOA—as well as composite applications. The idea is to bring more Sun products into the market place through Accentures global network.

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