What Sun Should Do

Tim Bray has written an insightful piece describing his perscription for a healthier Sun, at the end he suggested others might want to do the same, so here is my version.

Product Strategy

Sun’s problem is not that they don’t have good products, it is they have too many products for them to sustain.  As Tim mentioned they need to focus on their strengths and that would Glassfish and MySql.  MySql has a great reputation and community, they need to protect it.  In the last two years I have seen significant momentum in Glassfish, in particular they are staking out leadership in OSGi.  Keep it going.

Like Tim suggested, Sun needs to give up on JavaFX.  Someday it might be great technology but it doesn’t matter, Sun just doesn’t have the reputation or the reach into the graphic design houses that produce the cool web sites to feature this type of technology.  Ajax, Flash and Silverlight will battle it out for the hearts and minds of RIA style applications.

I am not going to say anything about NetBeans, since I am obviously biased but let me say there are many ways to attract developers.

Sales Strategy

Sun’s biggest problems are on the sales and marketing side.  How is it they are still so overly reliant on sales from the financial services industry.   Sun got wacked in the dot.com crash due to reliance in revenue from the banks and they are getting wacked again.   They need to diversify their sales into other industries.  This means hiring different sales people that know how to do this.

Open Source Strategy

Sun needs to re-consider its open source strategy.   Claiming that all Sun software must be open source provides no opportunity for license revenue.  They need to adopt what the Matt Aslett at the 451 Group calls an ‘open-core’ strategy.   Basically get wide spread adoption of the base platform, like MySql or Glassfish, and then sell up with specialize tools.   It seemed MySql was going down this path before the acquisition; it needs to be reconsidered.

Java & JPC Strategy

Lets hope the Sun leadership team listens to at least one of Tim’s recommendations:

As for Sun’s role as Steward of Java, and in particular the Java Community Process, let it go already.

Please just do it, the JCP is busted, Sun needs to let it go; just do it already.

So what do you think Sun should do?

9 thoughts on “What Sun Should Do

  1. Yesterday their stock dropped under $3 (it climbed a bit at the end of the day). It may be too late for Sun. Maybe they should extract Java out of Sun to an organization similar to the Eclipse organization.

  2. Insightful article Ian. I’d agree, Sun need to let the JCP go.

    But on JavaFX – from what I’ve heard about the 1.0 release -it’s going to be a good thing. In fact, it could be the thing that saves Java. There’s been too much investment into JavaFX to just let it slide now. In the next few months I think we’ll see some very innovative uses of this technology.


  3. I think you have a skewed view of Sun’s open source strategy. What you describe as “from” is a skewed view based on a rhetirical flourish; what you describe as “to” is a way of describing Sun’s open source strategy, although it’s more diverse than what you envisage. See http://blogs.sun.com/webmink/entry/the_sun_model and http://blogs.sun.com/webmink/entry/phase_3_of_the_sun (and also http://www.computerworlduk.com/community/blogs/index.cfm?entryid=1566&blogid=14 for more colour).

  4. James,

    I have no doubt that JavaFX is good technology. It is just that 1) Sun has too many products and 2) needs to make revenue very quickly. I can’t see how JavaFX is going to be revenue generator in the next couple of years.

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