Just got dinged (probably deservedly) by ZDNet’s David Berlind for not communicating the fact Sun is a client. Sorry. As regular readers will know, Sun is indeed a client.
I am sure neither Sun nor the market at large particularly wants to be reminded of the dotcom boom and subsequent bust. And yet…
There do seem to be substantive changes going on in the market, that are worth noting.
I don’t want to push the “Google IPO as Netscape IPO, ten years later”, angle too hard. There are obvious differences-not least the fact Google, unlike Netscape in 1995, is generating scads of cash, which it can reinvest in purchasing lots of west coast startups, thus fueling more Web 2.0 style companies.
Web 2.0 in my opinion is not all hype, and Google can be seen as a harbinger of further change.
There is plenty of dark fibre out there to support, say, a world of millions of “TV stations”, vblogging on steroids. [I am sure the naysayers will argue that we can’t create compelling TV. But the mainstream media often seems to be a race to the bottom, and that’s somewhere that a smart guy can compete. If all big media companies can do is make reality TV shows and other crap then lightweight personal netcasting wave is set to wash over them.]
The bandwidth is there but more processing power will be required. Which is where Sun can come in.
I noticed an item from news.com today that made me think about Sun and its future. eBay to buy hundreds of Sun x86 servers. It turns out PayPal is also evaluating Sun’s new T1 Ultasparc line.
The eBay story follows news that Google is going to buy some of the new elegant Sun kit too… “I am your density“. You know Sun has got to be talking to MSN – and Sun is now a Windows poster child.
If Sun was just selling to a couple of huge internet players, the Web 2.0 buildout wouldn’t necessarily mean much in terms of server sales. But a Sun that is savvy to postgres, and is integrating its middleware stack with it, and offering NetBeans tutorials on eBay service development, well that’s a little more interesting. Feedlounge, a feed-driven startup, is porting to Postgres from MySQL.
Sun’s latest market share numbers, according to IDC, are somewhat disappointing again – customers were maybe holding off from purchasing Sun’s “legacy” gear because they wanted to get hold of the new stuff.
But sooner or later new Sun wins are going to kick in. As I have said before, when they do, Sun will look undervalued in short order. Sun to benefit from a Web 2.0 halo? Stranger things have happened. And let’s understand this is a formal strategy based on volume economics, driven by Jonathan Schwartz, not an accident. He calls it the Participation Age.
If you’re an enterprise I would say check out the new Sun x86 boxes; you’ll likely be impressed. Sun didn’t go volume crazy in the 1990s because of a marketing slogan – it sold hot boxes too. It’s back in that game.
Maybe I should have called this post Sun: Putting the IP in Participation. Or maybe Jonathan can riff off that…