Sun Microsystem -- A Marketing Death Star
As you may have read, the CEO of Sun after serving as CEO for 22 years has just passed the baton to a new CEO.
The media hint that Scott McNealy did so because the company is mired in debt and has had no profit since 2002.
The new CEO Jonathon Schwarz had this comment:
Schwartz said Sun will spend the next 90 days assessing various aspects of its business and finding ways to become more efficient, and he hinted that some of the company's less-profitable units or products would be redirected or eliminated. He said his vision for running the company would not be dramatically different from McNealy's, saying that the company plans to continue to invest in research and development and "intercepting demand" for the huge growth of computing.
Pay special attention to "some of the company's less-profitable units or products would be redirected or eliminated." That's the hardest, but most essential profit management task a CEO has ... resources must be directed to create unique value for customers. Where you cannot create such unique value, get the hook!
Java software was created by Sun Microsystems, and it’s likely that Java will eventually be seen for what it really is -- an inferior application development environment that takes more engineers to do the same task and more time to do the same task than Smalltalk. Java might be McNealy's ultimate legacy but it will be one that sooner or later goes down in flames as new and better object-oriented technologies come along. Until then, IS department managers would be smart to take another look at Smalltalk -- less errors, faster time to profit, less cost for engineering.
Jini is Sun's relatively new software that enables devices to configure themselves into a network, with minimal fuss by the people using the gadgets. Instead, Jini-enabled devices automatically send out signals telling the network that they contain Jini software (a process called automatic polling), and perform various tasks with little additional human intervention. This one has some potential for delivering unique value -- but get off the Java train as fast as you can and get more work done for less investment.