Tuesday, March 31, 2009

IBIS update: rollout deferred

Well, it seems that the final rollout of IBIS has been deferred a few months, until July.
Does it mean that somebody has finally realized that it is a suicide to do the final step of the implementation of the system in the middle of the final quarter of the FY, meaning that during a couple of weeks no orders from customers could be processed?

I know, maybe the IBIS team is thinking just about a different thing: why hurry up with IBIS if we are going to substitute it quite soon with the one from IBM (no, IBIS does not mean Ibm Business Information System). I assure you not, this is not the reason, as we inside Sun never comment or think about market rumors.

Sun, the rumor company.
(I never succeeded with the 'Sun, the Java company brand, so I'm proposing a new one).

Maybe the real reason is that a great part of the IBIS implementation team is going to be left go (what a horrible euphemism to say we are firing people to try to limit the company costs... and maybe it is the way, but just firing one person would be enough...). Instead of hiring thousands of sales reps. and engineers and consultants we fire them. It is like shooting ourselves. Or is it part of the IBM conditions to buy the company?
No, we do not comment on rumors...

Say NO to IBM.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A confederacy of dunces

It is the 40th anniversary of the death of John Kennedy Toole, the writer of the wonderful 'A Confederacy of Dunces', printed after his soon death and awarded with the Pulitzer price.
At Sun we are celebrating this event with several homages. For instance, many people has been wondering during this years which is the meaning of the 'I' in 'Jonathan I. Schwartz'. It means 'Ignatius', as the main character of the novel, 'Ignatius J. Really' (probably the 'J' means 'Jonathan' too).
The second homage is the set up of our own Confederacy of Dunces.
It is the only explanation of the selling plan of the company.

Say NO to IBM.

A day at the races

I'm just flying to Melbourne in the corporate jet (Jonathan is tired of flying to New York to plead IBM, so he left it parked for the week-end) to have a words with Sir Richard Branson (he is very fond of the sir thing, I have to remember calling him that in public: he'll laugh a little and tell me not to use is, but I know he loves that). How things changes. When I was CEO we were the ones sponsoring a F1 team (look at the mirrors of the car),
now I'm flying to meet Richard to ask him if he has about 6 billion in cash (I know he has much more) to avoid the IBM takeover.
Richard, are not you spending your money in the races? Spend a little on me, you can add your logo to all of our computers: free advertising of Virgin in major datacenters all around the World. Thing of it.
May the Marx's spirit be with me (Groucho, hear my plea and help me in this hard times).

Say NO to IBM.

Update: After winning their first race in F1 (one-two indeed), Brawn GP has fired 250 of its 700 employees. That's a way to celebrate... I don't know if I still want to do business with such people...

Friday, March 27, 2009

IBM-Sun talks could extend during next week

Yes, this is what is said in the rumor-sphere, and analysts seem surprised to see that the due-dilligence process would extend for at least a couple of weeks (a process we do not confirm nor deny, as we don't comment on market rumors). What do you think IBM is trying to buy, John's Bakery down the street? As you might imagine, a company like Sun is a little bit complex, with a huge number of contracts, licences and customers: and this is what IBM wants to be sure of, the real value of Sun, its customer base.
On the other hand, our internal CRM, ERP, BI, Whateve-You-Think-About, the infamous IBIS, is based on Oracle software... so you can imagine that trying to analyze anything stored inside this engender takes much more time than a couple of weeks (and I'm speaking of Johns Bakery, so go figure the time needed with Sun...).
Remember dear employees, we do not comment on market rumors (neither if the rumor is from Intel and says we -indeed SEMA and KKR- have been bitching around offering the company to anybody with some money).

Again, repeat after me: Sun do not comment on market rumors.
Say it again: NO to IBM, I mean, we do not comment on market rumors. Is that clear?

Real Scott McNealy: We'd forget your mistake choosing this Pony Tailed CEO if you take the company back. Why don't you ring Vinod, Andy and Bill and propose them to do something great, like in the old times, and buy the company back? I'm sure SEMA is willing to make you an interesting offer.

Meanwhile I'll keep on ringing Chambers to find an alternative salvation plan. I hope he's still running Cisco...

Monday, March 23, 2009

If the IBM merger succeeds...

Dear employees,

Just in case the merger with IBM happens to be more than a rumor, I just enclose here some useful information for that improbable, but not impossible, event.

Well, in my personal case I know what should have felt Luke Skywalker after Darth Vader told him "I'm your father". I guess that for you, dear employees, would be like if you are enrolled in the Rebel Alliance and then Princess Leia comes to tell you that the Empire has acquired all the shares of you revolution and now you all have been integrated in the Imperial Army... gasp!

Well, as I was telling you, here it is the most recent picture I have from the one that could become your boss: Mr. Palmisano (is an old one, when he took a more direct role in the projects leaded by IBM):

Oh, and here it is a picture of the IBM headquarters (don't use neutron bombs on it, consider it as 'home'):

In my next post I may talk about the new dress code at IBM, I've heard they've left blue for white.
I hope Ashok has not played with my photos as he used to do in the past...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Of silences, facts and treason


Since the rumors started about IBM purchasing Sun in the sales store, nothing has been said by the management of the company.
The official policy here at Sun is not to comment on market rumors about our company, but this time I guess we should make an exception (even Jonathan's blog is being censored: no comments about the merger are allowed, and so his last post only shows a strange low number of just 9 comments).
The market has believed the rumor as a true fact, as a matter of time until the acquisition is completed (see this due diligenge report piece of news, or the growing number of articles talking about the subject). The best proof that the market is believing this is a fact is the rise in our stocks: nearly an 80%.

Jonathan, can you imagine the number of opportunities we are about to close competing against IBM in all our product lines?
Can you imagine the damage this FUD is making us in those opportunities?
Why would a customer buy a Sun product instead of an IBM one, if at last it will be the same company?

I never believed the many rumors about other companies buying Sun, but it is time to say something about it now, say that it is not true and everything will be fine again. In the past I've always agreed with this silence policy, but now is quite different, we could be even accused of rising the price of the shares with false rumors (if this is the case, why did not you do it before? You've seen the results in the stock price...).

Unless the rumor is not false. And this is the impression you are giving with your silence. And this is what everybody believes now.


There are a couple of major investors that now control the company: KKR and Southeastern Asset Management. KKR made an investment operation, too complicated for me to explain, so I'll give you a link to the press release where this was explained. At last, they are receiving a fine interest on the money they lent to Sun, and have the right to get their investment back in the form of shares, at about $7.50, so selling the company today at about
$10, and then wait until this shares are converted into IBM shares with a prevision to rise in the next years well beyond the initially expected outcome is quite a business, so I imagine that they may be for the agreement.

What puzzles me is the attitude of SEMA (you know, Southeastern Asset Management). They purchased a significant number of shares of Sun, making them the first investor in the company, but they did it by more than $10 a share (according to my information, they made significant investments between 9 and 16 dollars, probably most around the 16, just check the evolution of the stock price and the times when SEMA did the purchases of stocks). So, if they are the major stakeholder, they are the ones to be heard about making a deal to sell the company, and if they agree with IBM's offer, then they are assuming they are not able to take greater profit for their investments. This is weird for me, I don't believe they will sell for less than they bought, so we'll have to wait and see. Maybe this is why the took the reigns of the company, but in any case I think the price is not enough for them to even recover their investment.

Another fact is that the merger of the number 1 server maker with the number 4 (almost 3) server maker could be scrutinized by antitrust authorities in the US and in other countries. It would create a 'de facto' monopoly in the server market. I guess Hurd must be quite nervous, but not as nervous as people at Fujistu or even Michael Dell. If the deal is finally closed, Michael should think in who he is going to sell the company, and I guess IBM and HP will not be candidates anymore.

The feeling I have today is that the talks already begun long time ago, and that all the recent moves at the company were just oriented for its sale: the downsizing of 6,000 people, the reorganizing in three major departments (that would ease the selling of parts of the company to face an antitrust issue), so this past week's rumors and news seem to be just the final stage of the long time announced selling of Sun.

Another interesting fact is that Sun's shares rose to $8.10 at the end of the week, so the offer made by IBM is not a 100% plus anymore over the price of the shares. At least investors think that the company is valued more than this: Jonathan, the company is valued more than this. Even more, the company is viable, has fantastic products and the only thing we lack is advertising and sales reps (and a proper management team...).

Another fact is that I'm checking if (fake) Palmisano has a blog already and if I can get the name for whatever happens in the future...
I'm also buying a set of white short-sleeved shirts to match my grey suits (you know, the standard dress code at IBM).


Sun is not only the dream of four friends that built this company back in 1982. It is the dream of his 40,000 (no, now 35,000; no, 30,000) employees. Sun is in most cases not only a place to work, but a dream, a way of doing business, a way of loving computers, a place for engineers. When running a company you have to think not only in shareholders and customers, but also employees: they are not a company asset, they are the company itself, they are the spirit, the soul of what we do, and we must honor them and take care of them.

SEMA was announced as a 'long term investor', as someone to give stability and guidance to save the company and make it come back to past success. They were defined as an investor with a 'velvet glove reputation'. Now it seems their only intention is to get their money back as soon as possible and no matter what is the cost for Sun. If this was the reality, this would be a treason: they'd have lied to all of us.

After all the pain suffered by the employees, after the savage downsizing of employees, after everybody working harder than ever was seen in the history of computer companies to give Sun back to profitability, dog-fighting in every deal to win as much of them as possible and some more, if the board just gives up and sells the company, it would be a treason to every employee.

Jonathan, such an effort restructuring the company, creating the most advance portfolio in the computer market ever (with no marketing), sacrificing such a good people, swalloing MySQL and StorageTek and many more great companies, to just give it everything for a fistful of dollars to one of our worst enemies?
I'd consider that a treason, and not only to the people that appointed you to the post of CEO, to every customer that believed in Sun, to every employee that trusted you and gave part of its life to build the company.

No matter what happens from now on. You diluted the value of the company in a way nobody ever saw before. I'm cursing the day you became CEO.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Say no to IBM

I've just learned about the rumor (well, according to the rise of the shares, more than a rumor) that IBM is negotiating to buy Sun.
I only can say that I'll never sell my shares to IBM, and that I'll vote against this in the board (if they have the nerve to ask me). I'd really rather be selling to company to Micro$oft...
Yes, I admit that I've been talking to Netle's CEO to offer him the company, but this is for the sake of the people working here and to keep the dream we built along this years. Selling the company to IBM would mean the end of the dream, the death of Sun, as a company and as a spirit. IBM is only interested in two things: the installed base (our customers), and Java, and are most interested in the second thing, Java, to cut the grass under HP's feet. You know what I mean, HP is stronger than ever after buying EDS, so if they control Java (IBM), they'll have a strong argument to sell the bodies, I mean, the professional services they are both competing to sell. Otherwise, there is not a diferentiator in both offerings.
Make no mistake: IBM is not a technology company any more, they sell people, so if the technology doesn't work it is much better for them because this way they sell more services. And HP is willing to enter this market too.
Sun always represented a different choice: to reach the customers by providing leading edge technology to save costs. If we sell ourselves to IBM, all the innovation will be lost, as they are only interested in selling people (as I said, the worst the technology works, the more man-hours they sell to make projects work). If we sell ourselves to IBM, would be like selling our souls to the Devil, and so our souls might burn forever in the Hell of the abandoned cool technolohgy companies (like Netscape, Digital, Compaq, SeeBeyond....).

By the way, the one in the right int he picture is the Devil. The other one in the left is Jonathan with his Scientology celebration dress.

I hope this is just a bad dream, and that we'll all wake up and forget about this stupid subject. Perhaps is the influence over Jonathan of the old use our campus had in the past...

So, say NO to IBM. Post in Jonathan's blog, phone to your sales reps. saying that you'll never buy anything from Sun (and IBM) if the selling is done. Say NO to IBM, and over all, phone Steve Jobs: Steve, Apple-Sun is a great idea, and we'll keep your logo, please, give me a call.
Ok, ok, Ballmer is also invited to the bid... MicroSun is also a better idea than just dismanteling the company to just keep Java.

Say NO to IBM.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Flash Gordon

Sorry, I was gonna write something funny about the new flash-driven servers we are launching, but I got blinded by the logo...Next time, I'll be back, with a pair of Sunglasses...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Again: HP is NOT buying Sun

Just a while ago Hurd (the CEO of Hurd Practicioners, or HP for most of you), telling me, again, they are not buying us: 'apart from the reasons you say in your blog entry, which are basically true, you forgot to mention that there is no reason to buy something when we'll get it for free if we just wait enough time..." That is what he said. And that he wouldn't hire neither Jonathan nor me in the future.
I'm gonna play some hockey.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

HP is NOT buying Sun

I've spent a few days in the Mobile World Congress (I'll talk about Java FX in another post), and just when I got back I had to go to see our friend Hurd (in the picture he is telling me the size of a fish he captured in Ellison's ship, or was he telling me the amount of money they were loosing in the first quarter...?) to sign the agreement by which HP is distributing Solaris in (some of) their Pro-Liant servers (or Pro-Lier servers, as we like to call them at home).
So, many rumors have been spreaded away about HP buying Sun. This is old stuff, they begun when Don Grantham left the company to join HP a while ago, and now are back with this HP agreement.
I'll tell you why HP is not buying Sun:

1. We are not selling Sun (at least not me, and if I was doing it, I wouldn't tell you, I assure you that).
2. HP is not the most voted company to buy Sun according to my poll. If I had to talk to another CEO would be the one from Nestlé (but he is not answering my phone calls...).
3. They spent all the money buying EDS, they have no more cash and no bank is going to give it to them (cause banks is the last place where you can find money now).
4. This is the most important one: there are no synergies at all between both companies:
-They have their own operating system, HP-UX and we have Solaris (ok, they killed HP-UX and now it is a kind of zombie after being revived, so they have no enterprise/Unix-like O.S. at all).
-We have our own line of servers (I know, the CMT would be appealing for a hardware and CPU manufacturer)
-We have our own line of storage (yes, many of our storage is OEM hardware from HP)
-They don't have middleware (we have web server, app. server, identity management, e-mail, and they don't have any of these)
-We don't have consultants (they just bought EDS)
Maybe THERE ARE synergies after all. Well, I treated Don well when he was at Sun. I think I'm calling him to see how is he doing...