Tuesday, February 24, 2009


How come the marketplace no longer loves Sun Microsystems

In conversations with CIOs and enterprise architects in other Fortune enterprises, no one considers Sun a strategic vendor! I wonder what they are doing wrong?

I know it has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of their engineering staff as folks such as Pat Patterson, Ramesh Nagappan, Roman Ivanov, James Gosling, Yasuhiro Fujitsuki and others are smart, helpful and have lots of interaction with their communities.

This leads me to believe that Sun isn't being out-engineered but is being outsold in a few areas. First, I can say within a work context that I have lots of interaction with the Microsoft and Oracle sales folks whom aren't just doing thinly veiled sales pitches but actually help make me smarter at a technical level by sending me information that they personally know I am interested in. They both have worked to introduce me to their customers in other shops that use the same technology and have been great supporters of things I care about outside of work such as sponsoring our local OWASP chapter meetings. I have no freakin clue as to who the sales folks from Sun are on my side of town let alone any of the other higher value stuff.

For enterprise architects that love to be spoonfed by Gartner, Sun hasn't been working the magic (or submitting to extortion) by appearing in lots of Gartner magic quadrants. Maybe they have underestimated the value of paying excessive fees for analyst services and think that just because they believe it is a waste of money that everyone else may hold a similar opinion.

If I were to compare Nishant Kaushik and Mark Wilcox of Oracle to Pat Patterson and Ludovic Poitou of Sun who have analogous roles, which body do you think was last to speak to analysts at the 451 Group, Nemertes, Burton and Redmonk?

One of the more interesting observations I have noted in many vendor presentations is how vendors buy stuff from each other which causes the customer list to appear large. For example, if Ounce labs shows in their sales deck how Oracle is a customer, it is almost always true that they are probably using Oracle CRM and this team would show Ounce Labs on their deck. For Sun, it seems as if they are too indoctrinated into the we are smarter than everyone else and reinvent everything inhouse syndrome. I bet the world has no freakin clue as to what technologies Sun uses in its own ecosystem that it didn't invent.

Did you know that the local Microsoft office holds user groups on various technologies and you don't need to register nor be an MS customer to attend? Microsoft technical events at the local level aren't turned into sales leads and are great forums for folks to interact without any followon pressure.

My local OWASP chapter meetings follow the same process where I discourage the notion of RSVP. I simply refuse to track people as I believe this is a characteristic of being open. If you are going to be open, you have to be so in all aspects...

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