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SAS2008: Gambling on Utopia

Sun’s story is the same and more eloquent than ever: telcos will accept open-think finally, emerging markets will leap-frog over using closed, hegemonic technology for their IT build-up preferring open, flexible nirvanas, and the tried and true cash-pipe of 1st world enterprise data-centers will see that the combo of Solaris & those perfect looking aluminum-cased boxes are what running data-centers deserve to be like.

As each of these transformations transpire, Sun will be the sort of only one standing who can drop a stack of open goodness on demand, even helicoptering some of those black boxes if you just can’t wait. Sun is banking on utopia coming, using present revenue and people-ejecting to pay for the gas and cigarettes on the long car trip.

Telcos opening up; emerging markets giving the finger to Microsoft, IBM, and the army of high-priced IT consultants I battle for flight upgrades; data-center buying going the way of Apple marketing and culting. If you think even one of those will come to pass, Sun is the vision for you.

At one of the analyst event dinners I ended up sitting next to the largest individual Sun share-holder. This man had gobs of his own cash tied up on the utopia bet. He seemed laid back and friendly, and wise enough to leave early when the main entertainment – a panel with a Facebook exec and Virgin Galactic’s president – didn’t have anything to do with answering the question “you utopia-runners gonna grow my cash or shred it?”

The Sun faithful believe this utopia-bet so much so that they bristle at calling it such. To the Sun faithful, they’re betting on inevitability, the march of time. They’re no doubt practicing the phrase “I told you so” in the shower every morning.

That is the Sun ethos in a nutshell.

Will this Work?

I’m not qualified to say how long that plan can be given to pay-out. The Sun share-holders are the ones who hold that answer. I imagine it’s a tough one to figure out.

Is it a good idea? Sure. It beats circling the drain, waiting for someone to remember to flush. That’s a harsh way of putting it, but that’s where Sun was before these jolly visions danced out of Sun leadership’s head into vision-scape. For where Sun was – hanging on for dear life to the proprietary UNIX model of systems-dealing and creating a billion dollar market around Java for Oracle, BEA, IBM, and others to gobble up – this new gamble is sure a lot better. But, yeah, make no mistake, it’s a gamble. It’s a bet on a future that hasn’t happened yet. And there doesn’t seem to be a back-up plan.

We’ll see you in the future, where we all shall live.

Disclaimer: Sun is a client, as are IBM and Microsoft.

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Categories: Companies, Conferences, Enterprise Software, Marketing, Open Source.

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Continuing the Discussion

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