Sun Microsystems to Change Ticker Symbol to JAVA

Twenty-one years after going public, Sun decides to make an image change.

Sun Microsystems, which has built most of its company around the Java programming language brand since it was introduced in April 1995, announced Aug. 23 that it will change its NASDAQ stock symbol to "JAVA" from "SUNW" beginning Monday, Aug. 27.

Since Sun stock began trading in 1986, SUNW had been used for the stock ticker—it stands for "Stanford University Network Workstation."

However, "SUNW represents the past, and its not without a nostalgic nod that weve decided to look ahead," Sun President and CEO Jonathan Schwartz wrote in his blog.

"The number of people who know Java swamps the number of people who know Sun," Schwartz wrote. "[This is] because Java touches nearly everyone—everyone—who touches the Internet. Hundreds of millions of users see Java, and its ubiquitous logo, every day. On PCs, mobile phones, game consoles—you name it, wherever the network travels, the odds are good Javas powering a portion of the experience.

"Whats that distribution and awareness worth to us? Its hard to say," Schwartz wrote. "Brands, like employees, arent expenses, theyre investments. Measuring their value is more art than science. But theres no doubt in my mind more people know Java than Sun Microsystems. Theres similarly no doubt they know Java more than nearly any other brand on the Internet."


To read about how Sun went for the green with its new data center, click here.

Sun Microsystems was incorporated on Feb 24, 1982 and went public on March 4, 1986. The company name was founded by Andy Bechtolsheim, Scott McNealy, Vinod Khosla and Bill Joy. The name is derived from the initials Stanford University Network as two (McNealy and Khosla) of the original founders were fellow Stanford graduate students. Even the logo was designed by professor Vaughan Pratt, also of Stanford University.

Sun spokesperson Noel Hartzell told eWEEK that the company has simply decided that Java has an "incredible brand awareness that represents value," and that the time had come to make a change.

"What this represents is not a rebranding of the company or anything like that, but its leveraging an incredible community and a huge and respected asset thats known the world over," Hartzell said.

"It also represents the ethos that Sun has always espoused: that the idea is greater than any one individual."


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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...