Q1, and Do Operating Systems Matter?

We just reported our earnings for Q1. The way this works (for those that don’t already know), we issue a press release to the news agencies after the markets close, then Mike Lehman (our Chief Financial Officer) and I host a conference call to provide color and context. Financial and other analysts from around the marketplace dial in, our VP of Investor Relations walks through the financials, then Mike I provide some overall context before opening up the line for questions.

Here’s a page with links to the presentation materials, and the audio transcript. The whole process is a tad anachronistic.

It was a busy week overall – in addition to presenting our financial report card for Q1, I was the keynote just prior to Larry Ellison at Oracle Open World. You can see (and watch) that presentation, here. (You might need to scroll down to the middle of the page… and if I look particularly pale, I wasn’t feeling great – to any other parents of small children, you’ll understand the source of my malaise in three simple words, “Back to School.”)

On another topic, if you’re looking for Sun’s opinion on Oracle’s decision to fork Red Hat, here are some comments Greg Papadopoulos (Sun’s Chief Technologist, you can tell by the way his hair behaves) and I made during a regularly scheduled interview with Hal Stern. Hal, an inveterate bloggeur himself, leads Sun’s field Systems Engineering community (the technical folks closest to our customers, otherwise known as “the system in Sun Microsystems.”).

(Update: For those whose news readers don’t show the video images in-line, see Video 1 and Video 2 directly at YouTube.)

If you want the quick summary of the videos, not that it’ll surprise anyone, it comes down to this: I’m really glad we invested so heavily in Solaris over the past five years, making it freely available, making it open source, and making it available on HP, Dell and IBM, not simply Sun.

Adoption matters.


Filed under General

20 responses to “Q1, and Do Operating Systems Matter?

  1. Mmmm… i can’t see anything on greg’s blog about Oracle…

  2. Mike

    no – Greg’s comments are in the video of the interview he and Jonathan had with Hal Stern … admittedly Jonathan’s wording could be seen as ambiguous …

  3. Larry Chen

    Great to see that Sun is using YouTube? Does Sun have any plans to convert the Sun blogs completely over to video blogs using YouTube? I’m sure Google would be interested in teaming with Sun in hosting this service 🙂

  4. Mike Kingzett

    I’m relieved.
    I saw you at the Oracle Openworld conference. I’d seen you do keynotes/speaches before at Java One. I told the folks I was with that you’re very good in person – especially compared to Micheal Dell (that was a horrible keynote. Am I allowed to bash Dell here? By name?).
    I was surprised at how un-energetic you sounded. Your content was good. You had several humorous jabs at other companies. You just didn’t seem to be there. I’m glad there was a good reason for that. From all the good news coming from Sun I figured you’d be as happy as ever.
    I’m looking forward to the next time I get to see you in person. Perhaps I’ll avoid any speach you give in the fall.
    I do have one question. What is to stop any company (Microsoft, perhaps?) from doing to any open source company what Oracle did to Dell? Can that be a great way to kill off competition? Can someone do it to Solaris?

  5. Bharath Ravi Kumar

    +1 to the comment on Oracle/Redhat. What is Sun doing (or does it have to?) in order to ensure that an Oracle-like open source support venture doesn’t pull the rug from under your feet? How would Sun react if a third party proposes to support Solaris at half the price?

  6. Bharath Ravi Kumar

    On similar lines, what prevents Oracle from reverting to RHEL from Solaris X86 as the preferred development platform? They could also coerce their customers to use Oracle-supported RHEL instead of Solaris, despite any previous partnership/understanding?

  7. It seems to me that providing an ‘audiocast’ of the earnings call in rm format rather than mp3 (or hey, even ogg) is a “a tad anachronistic” as well.

  8. David

    I have a question… how can you have $13 billion per year in revenue and lose money every quarter? That is puzzling.

  9. hi Mike,
    “Can that be a great way to kill off competition? Can someone do it to Solaris?”
    If Sun had open sourced Solaris in 2002 (as opposed to 2005), we would have seen a lot more adoption of Solari/OpenSolaris than it is today.
    As more companies become familiar with Solaris/OpenSolaris, they can offer various levels of support for Solaris. To give the same level of support for Solaris as SUN does, they need to be very well versed on Solaris and its applications. Sun knows Solaris best. Who is second best ? Oracle, of course. It ever OpenSolaris/Solaris gets anywhere near as popular as Redhat, Oracle will consider offering enterprise support.
    For OpenSolaris to become anywhere near as popular as Redhat/Fedora, there needs to be a good version of Opensolaris for laptops/notebooks and desktops. Only after people use it for personal use, will they consider using it on servers. We saw this on Linux and Windows. Once people were comfortable using Windows Professional, Windows Server applications grew popular. So, Sun should consider making a desktop/notebook version of Solaris a TOP PRIORITY.

  10. Jas

    Re: Oracle & RH Linux. What’s happened to Sun’s “relationship” with Oracle since announcing “Solaris 10 operating system as its preferred development and deployment platform for most x64 architectures” last November?

  11. What exactly do you mean by “fork” ?
    (Oracle will fork Red Hat…)
    Daniel Ichbiah
    (from France)

  12. Kevin Hutchinson

    How come Rackable Systems is doing so well? I thought you competed head-to-head with them, and had better kit than they do? Maybe they have some secret sauce (DC power?) even though they don’t have an operating system like Sun or Red Hat/Oracle. It would be great to see Sun have customer wins like Yahoo or Amazon…

  13. Ex Sun employee and shareholder

    Nice to see Sun continue to make the big bets. Whats next for Sun’s GP computers – network/content switches or completely new categories of devices? Ive been fascinated by the challenge of managing for growth in an environment that is so high risk/reward. Can you provide some insight into what are the best practices in managing innovation ? I will be interested to hear the revenue numbers for devices like Thumper in the next conf call.

  14. Herm

    Did I miss something? Solaris is truly open source? Owned, maintained,updated and managed by an independent organization?
    Or is it just free?

  15. Especially I’m looking forward to the Christmas present Jonathan Schwartz promised us on OpenWorld.
    See my cartoon.

  16. Anonymous

    Nice to see sun growing

  17. Philippe CLEMENT

    Soon, I hope, linux will run on solaris containers and therefore Sun’s customers will be able to take advantage of both OS. It could change the perception of the competition between both OS and Linux and Solaris could be seen more as “partners” than “competitors”.
    Therefore doesn’t it make sense for Sun to offer service and maintenance, at a very competitive price of course, for both Opensolaris and Linux ?
    It seems to me that it would make more sense for Sun to do so than for Oracle/.
    Philippe Clement

  18. Gary

    Indeed, what does “fork” mean…….is this a typo ? and another letter should be in there somewhere?

  19. David

    Also… How can you tout that your products are efficient and cut cost when your business isn’t efficient and has excess spending? It would seem hard to do. (ie. Oracle saves themselves $1 billion each year by using it’s own business software. I don’t know how they figured that but Oracle has $14+ billion in revenue and an operating profit margin of 33%.)

  20. Mika

    Jonathan, thanks for taking time to write such interesting blogs…
    I guess you know that the excellent Sun Solaris Support (including hardware support) is by far the cheapest, compared to RedHat and Oracle’s Unbrakeable Linux?
    There is an interesting comparison I found in a blog (quoting):

    “Take an Sun Fire X2200 M2 with 2 processors. This is a system, Oracles marketing touts for it´s RAC deployments.
    Support 24×7 (Premium Support) for Redhat AS: 2499$
    (Source: Redhat.com Store)
    Support 24×7 (Premier Support) for Linux at Oracle : 1199$
    (Source: Oracle UBL FAQ)
    Support 24×7 (Gold) for Solaris X86 at Sun: 420$
    (Source: sun.com-Store)
    The price for Solaris contains hardware maintance Monday to Friday from 8-8 with onsite technican in 4 hours.”

    Now, the problem is, nobody who buys Linux support seems to know this…

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