The Inside Story (Java, Microsoft and MySQL)

As consumer spending slows across the world, a variety of “brick and mortar” retailers are clearly feeling the impact. Foot traffic is slowing, and it’s getting harder to balance debt laden real estate portfolios and fickle consumer trends.

For consumer product manufacturers, retail distribution is key – it’s how you get in front of a customer. It’s why the big PC manufacturers are all working hard to score deals with big retailers (or build their own retail outlets) around the world.

But making money on PC’s is tough – for most PC makers, you’re remarketing someone else’s operating system and someone else’s microprocessor – it’s not for the faint of heart (or faint of balance sheet). For Sun, our retail distribution concerns don’t surround consumer hardware (we don’t make PC’s) as much as consumer software – the popularity of which defines our market opportunity. Said simply, if you’re running Java or another open source platform, Sun can build differentiated datacenters in the clouds behind those devices. If not, it’s a lot tougher (not impossible, just a lot tougher).

Consumer software, though, is defined by a virtuous cycle. Developers target popular software (like Firefox, Flash or Java). In so doing, they create applications and content that consumers use. What consumers use, they tend to use in volume (the internet’s a very big place, after all). Developers notice those volumes, and target the platforms that reach the most consumers. And that defines Sun’s market opportunity (someone smart once jumped up and down on stage yelling “Developers! Developers! Developers!” Amen.)

The Java runtime remains one of the world’s most popular platforms used by developers – and thus, one of the world’s most popular consumer software products.
For the cynics about to chime in with “but I don’t use it,” the odds are good you do – it’s become an invisible, but critical part of an enormous breadth of consumer and business services (from video uploaders on social networks, to stock market analytical tools). And as that content becomes more popular, so does the Java platform – expanding Sun’s market opportunity in the corresponding datacenters. That’s why we see it as a virtuous cycle.

That cycle also provides Sun with some exceptional foot traffic – just last month, we distributed more than 60,000,000 Java runtimes, to users all across the planet. The number is growing, as more content is built for Java 6 and the upcoming JavaFX, as more PC’s join the network, and as more workers join the workforce (and are assigned Java-enabled laptops). At this point, I’d bet there are about 1,000,000,000 (that’s a billion) Java runtimes installed on PC’s around the world. With more by the day – each generating revenue for Sun.

As with most of our software products, we don’t distribute products without intent – like Google, our products are both a means of acquiring customers, and generating revenue. Freely distributed software establishes a relationship with an end user – just like free search, free news or free shopping. About two years ago, we reached an agreement with Google in which they recognized the value of our relationships with Java consumers. Just as the PC makers want distribution via retail outlets, Google wanted distribution of their search technologies – via our Java update mechanism. When we present an update to a user, we may offer other sponsored software (a Google search toolbar, eg).

After a careful negotiation, we agreed, and crafted a wonderful relationship that served consumers, Google, and Sun. Last year, we renewed the agreement, and recognized even more value for all involved. This year, we decided to run an open auction, and received bids from a number of companies. It was a tough process, but given the growing volume and momentum around Java, we clearly represented just about the most popular distribution vehicle on the internet today – and Microsoft worked hard to represent the most attractive total offer.

The decision to go with Microsoft was based on overall value – it was also predicated upon their endorsement of and agreement to help promote MySQL. Stay tuned for more details on what we’ll be doing together.

What’s the deal worth to Sun? This deal will be one of the most valuable distribution deals ever struck in the industry – and it likely makes Microsoft one of Sun’s largest customers. It’ll also set the stage for an even more interesting auction next year, as more and more folks realize the value of retail distribution. Thus far, our deal with Microsoft is US only – and new auctions are in flight for international rights (alongside other non-toolbar products for the US, perhaps a browser…).

As for other high value distribution assets at Sun? I just read one analyst report questioning whether anyone actually used OpenOffice. We happen to run Sun Microsystems on OpenOffice – more importantly, it’s used across the world, and we’re now commercially licensing it to brand name companies wanting to save big dollars on office productivity.

To put some data around its popularity, last week, we distributed more than 3,000,000 copies of OpenOffice 3. Downloads are accelerating, giving us a reachable user base we estimate to be between 150,000,000 and 200,000,000 users – a global recession will amplify OpenOffice adoption. And 100’s of millions of users drive a lot of foot traffic. An auction’s afoot (no pun intended) to see who we’ll be partnering with us to integrate their businesses and brands into our binary product distribution – the possibilities are limitless: people tend to print those documents, fax them, copy them, project them (and I know this annoys my friends in the free software community, but branding allows us to invest more in OO.o community and features, from which everyone benefits).

With Verizon running a similar auction to integrate a search vendor into their wireless devices, they (and their industry across the world) are seeing the same opportunity. Just because a few retailers are having trouble doesn’t mean the value of reaching customers has gone away. Foot traffic still counts, but in today’s economy, software distribution’s a lot easier to manage and monetize than a real estate portfolio.

After all, who wouldn’t want to meet a few hundred million new customers?


Update: I should’ve clarified, above: users without any interest in toolbars can simply decline the offer during install – and receive their Java update without any sponsored software.


Filed under General

67 responses to “The Inside Story (Java, Microsoft and MySQL)

  1. Radu

    "just last month, we distributed more than 60,000,000 Java runtimes" , It could have been more but for some reason I can not download anything from Sun Download Center. The message I get informs me to contact Customer Suport but that results in a automated reply with instructions to try again at a later time. This has happened all over Romania (where I live) during the last week. Any feedback on when SUN will fix this ? Is there any legal reason for this ?

  2. A poor sun share holder

    good move, let us strike more deals, so our poor share holders can recover some of our big loss.

  3. It’s fantastic to see Sun finding new ways of monetising it’s software portfolio in the consumer space. I also feel that it very important for Sun to stay in the space even if it doesn’t prove to be a cash cow. If it wasn’t for brands like Java and OpenOffice folk would have a hard time even beginning a conversation about what Sun as a company has to offer. Whenever I mention Sun to anyone I often respond to their blank look with ‘Java?’ which then brings about recognition – that’s something money can’t buy

  4. Holger

    I still dont understand, how donloading of free software generates revenue for Sun. See, here on my PC runs a Vista OS. I paid some 200€ for it. Java was not included, but I downloaded it. So, 200€ for Microsoft, 0€ for Sun.
    If you multiply it with 60,000,000, it still is zero revenue for Sun.

  5. Lucian

    Dear Mr. Schwartz,
    I tend to agree with your opinions. However, it is possible to observe a big gap between a vision and it’s execution. (It may sound harsh, but there’s a whole chain of responsibilities, not a single person.) I am experiencing the same download issues like those mentioned by Radu, above. (I live in Romania, too.) I am an SDN member and while I am inclined to see the message "Your download transaction cannot be approved. Contact Customer Service." as a glitch rather than a policy, it is still a bitter pill administered to one of the target audience of SUN and I think it makes developers raise an eyebrow. This can quickly turn into disbelief and even though I like SUN’s portfolio of software, I would abandon most of it. In fact, all of it, if even the JDK is not available any more. I believe there are other SDN members thinking the same.
    Please don’t estrange your developers.

  6. Gowri

    A good amount of the foot traffic that is downloading those Java Runtimes are probably Java developers. Aren’t Java developers the kind of folks who, to a large extent, might be averse to MSFT?
    If I wanted to download JRE and found that it also downloads things I never asked for, would I be more inclined or less inclined to actually use the MSFT toolbar?

  7. Can you share on how _big_ is ZFS, Dtrace, Zones acceptance in mission critical environment? Has Solaris 10 resulted in less sales of AIX and HP-UX hardware? We don’t hear enough of it.

  8. Fabien

    So you manage to get 60 million downloads per month for a product that is a pain to install and to setup (it tends to start even when you don’t need it), that’s bundled with malware (marketing people call that "advertisement" or "sponsored software"), and that’s not very useful (Come on, how many websites use client-side Java applets? How many Java-based applications exist for workstations?) — even Openoffice works perfectly without it.
    If that’s true, then Sun’s marketing department is the best in the world.

  9. You really do have contrarian strategies, and the best part is they are all working out.
    Wishing you success.

  10. The range of products and services that Sun provides is amazing. My understanding of your developer communities is that they are not paid for the fine tuning they do on the applications and products. When so much research and input is available and made freely available through open source, any commercialization should push the ‘Standford University Network'(see now we know!)to higher profitability than its peers. I think that is what Sun is geared up for now, pushing the future to the present and create wealth.
    This post gives a clear idea about how Sun’s products are being marketed. It is a learning experience to come to this space and know not only about technology but how the community works and this is a massive live study to see if these community-based productivity is effective and sustainable. If Sun succeeds, so will many more projects which take us back to the collective work culture and sharing that was the mainstay of earlier civilizations. Back from individualism towards shared resources.
    Somehow the economy that was, did not feel real. At one end were the hefty pay packets and at the other were dirt poor people. The divide was surreal. The recession is kind of bringing us back to reality where there are realistic earnings and realistic spending. I is quiet possible that the blend of pure commerce and free sharing will bring back some semblance in the present chaos. Thanks for such an informative post.

  11. Visitor

    You mentioned JavaFX. There is a lot to be said about it. But I’ll keep it shot. It is one thing to put all eggs in one basket, but what you do with JavaFX is even worse. You put ONE egg in one basket and at the same time deliberately smashing all other eggs. Sun is about to lose the last bit of good will from desktop programmers because of JavaFX, instead of enhancing and properly maintaining Swing.

  12. "Dave"

    I work closely with Sun and how Sun does affects me, so I want Sun to do well. That is why I am taking the time to write this. I like you and I want Sun and you to be successful. After learning a lot about Sun since I have been in a new position that deals with Sun equipment and software I believe that bar non Sun has the BEST products available! Yet Sun is not getting the piece of the pie Sun deserves. So what is the problem??
    I’ll tell you, not that many people know about them, obviously not enough anyway. It is like if you want to know more about Sun or what Sun does YOU have to SEARCH to find out about it. I talk with people and a lot of them do not even know half of everything that Sun does! I was talking the other day with someone who works with servers and he had not even ever heard of Solaris, like I said it is like YOU have to go in search of Solaris if you ever want to know about it.
    Here is the Solution: Advertisement!
    Sun has the BEST products available and has a solution for just about every problem out there, period. So here is the advertising slogan:
    Need better equipment, we have a solution for that. We have a FULL range of hardware solutions
    Vista is garbage and costs $200 +. We have the FREE OpenSolaris Operating system!
    Your storage needs are growing, We have MANY solutions for that.
    You need to reduce power consumption. We have CoolThreads Technology that saves you power and money!
    With other operating systems you have to worry about viruses, malware etc. With OpenSolaris you get military grade security, no viruses for 20 years!
    And on and on and on, you are the CEO I know you could come up with even more great things to say about Sun’s products. Here is the bottom line: WE HAVE A SOLUTION FOR ANY PROBLEM
    Sun spends about $2,000,000,000 (2 Billion dollars) on Research and Development every year and Sun can’t spend $100 million or even $50 million on advertisement?! McDonald’s advertises and I can guarantee they do not spend $2 Billion a year like Sun in R&D trying to discover a new special combination of ingredients for a sandwich or special sauce. LOL. Even if they did, they still ADVERTISE, so does Microsoft, Macintosh, HP, Dell, et cetera.
    Sun has the best products out there and the best operating system, let’s get the word out there Jonathan! We need to increase our user base and sell more products. I can’t think of a better way to do that than with advertisement.

  13. Dear Jonathan Swartz:
    It’s a pleasure to read your blog — thank you for being a CEO who can compose readable English (or at least hire a ghost writer who does). Good luck turning the tide of red ink by focussing on innovation. I hope it works.
    This tie-in with Microsoft is interesting. I like your long-standing attitude of cooperating with your competitors.
    Because of Sun’s vast contributions to open source, I positively inclined toward your company. Therefore, whenever I look for new hardware for my tiny open source storage startup, I browse the Sun server catalog. Unfortunately, so far your offerings don’t line up with my startup’s needs. I’ll keep checking. Also I’ve advised my mom to buy more and more Sun stock. It is below $4.00 / share today — what a deal!

  14. Rudi

    I used to enjoy your blog entries. Unfortunately, they became too obvious an instrument of marketing and propaganda. A real pitty.
    Can’t you try to deliver the old stuff again ?
    Best regards,

  15. Yes,
    This is great move for the SUN and its FOSS strategy in general.

  16. HC

    I am a full time Java developer. Everytime I wanted to install the JRE on a Windows box and saw that option to install Yahoo toolbar, I cringed. You are saying that now we might be seeing options to install Google’s toolbar, MSN toolbar etc. also.
    I am sorry, as lucrative that deal might be to Sun, I have to say it cheapens the Java brand. Adboce Flash installation is so simple it is quite painless. Which respected software tacks on toolbars as part of its distribution? The last I saw something like that was in BonziBuddy or something.
    JRE installs have other problems (multiple versions for users and developers to contend with etc.) and now we get a screen asking if we want to install a toolbar? A very bad move IMO.

  17. JavaDevGuy

    @HC – every time I use Acrobat, I’m spammed with Yahoo! and Google toolbars. Every time I use Windows, I’m spammed with Every time I use Google, I’m spammed with Google. I got a funny feeling the days of "something for nothing" are over. I just hope, unlike Windows or Acrobat, we’ll be able to click "No, thank you."

  18. Surprised

    I hope you know what you and your team is doing!
    However, in my opinion this is the biggest mistake so far Sun has made.
    M$ has never joined hands with anyone who survived more than 5 years with the niche that they had before joining M$.
    They have "dealt" with ECMA, ISO, OOXML, recently Yahoo …seat back, take 5 minutes …and this list will grow to at least 20. All of these organizations were "something" however after their marriage with m$, either they turned to either nothing or became puppet (at least lost their freedom) of M$.
    With the "deal" that you mentioned here you may get the "Money" that you wanted however, M$ will have access to more key people (at Sun), will know more Java and Sun consumers, have more "data" that they can use to make Sun and Google further (financially and may be knowledgewise) weak in coming years.
    Now after your "deal" if you ever turn back from M$, your shareholders will not let you sleep!
    Hope from this deal Sun turn-out unscratched as an exception.

  19. Concerned Community Member

    So for the sake of an auction you’re both selling out your open source communities by promoting Microsoft’s business as well as forcing the distribution with Java of Silverlight, with which your JavaFX stuff is an insignificant competitor. Is the the start of just doing anything to get money, regardless of the strategic impact and ethical foundation?

  20. D Lewis

    Can’t you do something about the bad analysts?
    And why I do think MSFT buying JAVA will be a good thing ?
    What went wrong with you &

  21. john laudadio

    You sure DO have a silver tongue.
    Your prose in excellent.Everything you say makes a lot of sense and seems very plausable, even in today’s environment.
    But, how long can you preaching to the flock, promising, speculating. wishing, without showing some REAL positive results, and that is…Share’s worth.
    Even a broken clock is right twice a day…I just hope that can survive this nightmare to see the real SUN rise.

  22. Hi Jonathan, I’m a volunteer in the community, and I’m not worried at all by your branding efforts around OOo. I’m worried by the fact that Sun is not communicating at all about OOo (the analyst you mention is probably a US based one, and in the US the feeling around is that no one is using OOo). Communications (and, above all, public relations) are what you have to do about OOo. In Italy, the local community gets more than 300 articles in the press about OOo each month, and no one amongst the press and the analysts has the feeling that no one is using OOo. So, please change your marketing and communications strategies about OOo, and you will probably see some changes in the perception as well, especially in the US, which are a key area for every technology product. If your thoughts are that Sun has already a communication and PR strategy about OOo, I’m sorry but then you are wrong, totally wrong. Sun’s strategy about marketing OOo is simply the wrong one. In Italy, we’ve proved that a different strategy – more solid, more product oriented, more aggressive – works, and we pursue this different strategy on our own (as we are capable of doing it on our own). We even are in the process of evolving it to the next stage. Ciao, Italo

  23. Tara

    What the hell?
    Why are you doing this?
    I think this is VERY stupid of you AND the open office team if it goes through.
    I REFUSE to use ANY software with adds, if this goes though I will make a call to ALL linux developers to BOYCOTT open office.
    This is a STUPID move and I hope Open office dies a horrid death if this plan goes though.
    Free open source addware free software forever baby!

  24. Congratulations on inking the big deal with Microsoft, should be a big revenue maker for Sun for years to come.

  25. By the way, Jonathan, the software is called "".
    Cheers – John

  26. Bill W

    The balance sheet is certainly strong enough to get Sun through some hard times, with $2.7 billion in cash and only $1.3 billion of long-term debt. Back out the $1.4 billion net cash balance, and Sun is trading at just around 4 times trailing free cash flows. Unless this week’s report shows a total meltdown, which I find highly unlikely, this could be a totally awesome time to buy Sun.

  27. William R. Walling

    "I appreciate your efforts for SUN but do question the apparent outcome."
    Simply,’Community’ within desperate industries shall portend our GLOBAL future.
    Please continue ‘auction’ efforts, termed business alliances or contractual agreements for the rest of us, as they will be requisite going forward.
    Computing trials continue unabated, This saga is not over …

  28. Robert

    Could you please elaborate on the branding for Open Office? This sounds like you plan to build advertising into the suite, rather than tack on some toolbars which can be chosen or rejected during install. So when I send my ODT assignment to a friend, it’s going to have a Kentucky Fried Chicken header?

  29. Milton Farre

    I do not like having to see ads when I use Google, and I especially don’t like to see ads when I’m reading my GMail. I do not want to see any ads in openoffice, I just want all products and services for free. This is what happens when corporate interests get involved.

  30. Anonymous

    Sun is in a new deal with Microsoft over something as fundamental as software distribution onto platforms? Jeez… talk about not learning lessons from history. Does Sun honestly believe that MS will promote MySQL over MSSQL? Even the name similarity is probably annoying Microsoft enough that they want to destroy MySQL.

  31. Jon

    I wish you guys could market better.
    I’m working hard to revise the technology stack here in my company. That means using more Java, Glassfish, MySQL and Solaris, and maybe someday your servers too. I just wish I didn’t have to swim so hard upstream. A little more marketing and exposure to the decision makers would make my job a little easier. I’m in middle management.
    I love your products.
    I love your culture.
    I hate your marketing to date.
    As for this MS deal, at least you’re not standing still, you’re trying new things. Points for that.

  32. WellWisher

    I would just like to say that all the day trading shareholders who want you to give up distributing your IP to the planet are missing the point of this posting. If you don’t distribute your software, you don’t have any differentiation in the server/storage sale. No wonder Microsoft makes all that money…
    But MS can’t compete against free software. I, for one, think that’s an interesting route around a monopolist… if you can’t built a free service (Google, Facebook), build free products (Java, MySQL, Glassfish). If the latter products were ad networks, who’d pay to advertise to their users?

  33. Joe

    Pls. Make some money and keep jobs safe.

  34. Ash

    And I always thought, main revenue of SUN lies in dealing and retailing Servers. I was wrong. There is so much happening in web world that every big player is going for toolbar or say any Java based tracking system for better user experience.
    Congratulations for deal with Google, Microsoft (That will be related to toolbar, I think). I had impression that Google is fabricating all the stuff itself. Anyways I don’t know, what they doing in Google Labs or MSDN.
    I Am in OS administration and with the volume of server oders, I was under impression that Sun is getting benefited from workstations and servers.
    Nice post, Sun’s using good marketing.

  35. Jonathan,
    Sun needs to do more to explain to the public how Novell forks its projects and harms Sun/JAVA with Mono/.NET.

  36. Jonathan,
    The Java community is scared. I am scared. Many years invested in Java technology and promoting it to end up in a situation where Sun is not clear at all on where they want to head with respect of the Java Runtime & Enterprise Application.
    I am mainly referring o the JDK 7 roadmap (No JSR as per today) – and also the state of Swing.
    Swing *is* the best GUI framework to develop enterprise apps, but it seems to the community that Sun is abandoning its development and has switched a long time ago to -fix bugs mode – ie, no improvement, no new features.
    It took many years for Swing to become a real alternative to other frameworks for desktop applications. Now that we are finally there, the last thing we need is a stand-still on Swing development.
    JDK 6U10 is the best thing that happened to Java Runtime for a long time. We thank you for that. I also understand the need for it for Java FX. I also understand the shift of focus to JavaFX.
    However, be careful, ignoring the client, Java will remain only a server-side technology, then after that, it will be replaced from the server side, and this will be the end of the technology, a legacy technology.
    Beware that architects, IT managers look closely at the situation. "No one gets fired by choosing Microsoft or IBM" – they will not hesitate to forbid the use of Java.
    But there is no need for it to be like that. It is hard to "care" about the community, and not communicate. If you stop the later, people will wonder what would happen. Please sort out the Java business, especially the client side "legacy", Swing. The message should be strong that Swing is there to stay, and even if he focus is on JavaFX, that Sun will continue to work and enhance Swing (Even if it means buying JideSoft and call it Swing2). You also need a JSR for JDK 7 with realistic deadlines.
    Good luck.
    Signed by a Java, C#, C++ developer.

  37. I saw at least one comment talk about Java developers being adverse to MSFT. I simply ask folks with such a mentality as to be adverse to writing software with Java for Windows to think about their job and sales. You can not ignore the most installed and used operating system and be very successful.
    Sure, you’ll have a potential market, but you’re still going to shoot yourself in the foot by reducing your growth. I use Linux mostly and then Windows when I have to, so I’m not exactly in the bag for MSFT, but you can’t afford to hate on such a popular OS and develop software if you need to feed your family or would like to have some nicer things or help others.
    To those who wonder if there are desktop applications built on Java. Yes. Look around as you don’t have to look very hard. Many made from pure Java, and many embedding it for different things. There are frameworks such as and
    I then see some folks saying I don’t want to see ads plus I want it all for free. Folks, you can’t get it all for free without something paying for it. If you think you can then you live in a world where the governments didn’t really just give a bunch of mismanaged companies and soon the auto industry in the U.S. tax dollars or an incentive to keep doing things wrong; wait that did and is happening… Quite simply, you can’t keep taking and taking and taking without something being put in and expect things to keep going.
    There has to be ways of making profit otherwise there is no money to pay people, stocks to sell, or a business to make the software. Corporate interests, small and large, are where governments get their revenues. People adverse to corporate interests and profit forget the simple fact that if someone wasn’t working, and everyone was laying on their cans, that nobody would be paying anyone anything, and then what? Eat dirt?. Don’t forget governments live and exist from revenue unless we all want to be slaves to them and work for what they tell you you’re worth; get real.
    I then see some talking of boycotting OO if there are any ads. I haven’t seen anything mention putting ads in files or even ads in the runtime. Regardless, if you have such a complaint then go buy MS Office for what it costs, or if you are a Linux user, buy a better working WINE, and then buy MS Office and pay for both. Or, use OO, and get your work done without paying the licensing fee. Come on do you have a job? Is there anything you’re doing which you are paid? If it is related to computers you’re going to deal with the MS formats. Blunt: Real developers know the rules, and whiny trust fund babies who don’t really have to work for a living and have an anti anything business related agenda drool. Sorry, had to say it.
    Again, Linux lover here, but those hating on M$ should think about all those helped by their generous donations. They may possibly have given more to charity than any corporation. I don’t have all the numbers on them, versus other mega corporations like IBM, Intel, Ford, Toyota, GE, and the likes, but I bet ratio to income any of us posting here couldn’t keep up with them.
    So, while it may be fun to bash some corporation, don’t forget the things they do for the world as well. You all probably go to movies and dig your tunes and I too love all that, but find me an actor or musician giving as much as these guys to help their fellow man versus their own self serving or gratifying agenda and I’ll fall over. Don’t forget there are real people working at any given work place, and they are human too.

  38. Thierry,
    If you like Swing you should check out:
    It is a complete Swing RCP with a vibrant community. We do a lot as it relates to improving the desktop experience from installing, to running, and of course Swing. Come join the mailing lists and the community. All open source of course.

  39. Someone wrote "I would just like to say that all the day trading shareholders who want you to give up distributing your IP to the planet are missing the point of this posting. If you don’t distribute your software, you don’t have any differentiation in the server/storage sale. No wonder Microsoft makes all that money…"
    If some shareholders actually have this view you mention, then too they forget about folks as myself who contribute patches (source code…my IP as well), time, and dedication to make the Sun projects better. I am on the NetBeans Board and the NetBeans Dream Team. My fellow NetBeans community members have businesses, use the products, support them in different capacities, and drive business to Sun through our efforts. We all have a vested interest in Sun’s success, and this is why we give our code and effort as it is an ecosystem. We pat their back and they ours.
    Too, many of us use GlassFish and MySQL. We do work for other companies besides our own, and we talk and show people things. Those folks purchase hardware and software too. If Sun really needs to do something, they need to keep doing this part of the equation, then market better, go after small businesses and not just mid and large, and review their hardware systems and services and make sure they can go after these different markets and compete in them.
    Small businesses and startups are different, and even between the two there are differences, but my point follows. You may get in the door to thousands of them for a few thousand dollars a year with services. Thinking larger companies, you may get hundreds. Well, if you do the math 50,000 times 500 = 25, 000, 000 or 5,000 times 5,000 = 25, 000, 000. You have to lose 10 customers from the small business pool to equal one mid range business. Now, you may not get "service contracts", but hourly over a year at 5,000 is better than 0.
    The business is to be had, and it is business that MS, IBM, and HP are not going after. Too, if Sun doesn’t have the resources for all those businesses and the hourly services, then start programs in the different open source communities or for them where Sun can manage the logistics and front calls and sign people up to do the work.
    Sun can take a finders fee as a percentage of every hour worked. Have different hourly rate standards for different regions and have those wanting in the program to conform as part of the deal. Help us with some promotional things such as marketing to the masses and magazines, and we can market in our regional areas such as door to door, the yellow pages, and our chambers of commerce.
    So, instead of hiring new folks when you can’t you can make 5% or 10% or so on hourly rates and all you have as a cost is marketing and logistics of fronting calls and hooking businesses to providers and not new salaries, and this isn’t just looking at data centers or software companies, but many small businesses want custom software.
    One, you can gain new or more endeared partners who can help fix bugs in the projects such as Java, NetBeans, GlassFish, Virtual Box, etc saving the corporation money and resources. Two, those folks can get deals on hardware and start using it, help flush out pain points, and then push those products better and with different operating systems, and let you know what people are asking for and saying things which they might not tell Sun.
    Three, those things ease up some other burdens on Suns current resources, not just money but personnel alike, and they can be used to better the general ideas of the products from Sun’s point of view, and also allows them some time to research new things or improve some things these partners can help keep up, improve, and push. Not to mention it frees them up for other things which might only be important to larger enterprises such as cloud computing, or smaller things such as project Kenai which actually supports those same people you are endearing to Sun.
    So, keep up the projects, market everything better, show what holistic approaches and solutions are capable with the Sun stack with some real world examples which you help make a success, review all systems and service offerings for the different market levels, and help us help you and help us target smaller businesses and markets.
    That then affords some innovation projects, but can grow on the base you have and improve it, and that base needs to take the lead versus new things less more offerings in the service level and systems (smaller ones for less cost for smaller businesses…many small businesses use glorified desktops for servers with a good backup plan…show them the way and give them options they can afford yet make some money on it). Improve what you have, never stop innovating, but improve what you have and sell it better on all levels.

  40. Marco Ciampa

    please, simply do the math.
    Calculate the percentage of the negative feedback you get with this article.
    This fact should definitely tell you something about your marketing strategy.
    I think this is a very bad idea.
    Good luck.

  41. MowGreen

    Does Sun still bundle "add-ons" when a new runtime is pushed out to address Security vulnerabilities ? IF yes, then that’s a REALLY bad move. NO Security update should EVER bundle add-ons, ESPECIALLY ones that are opt-out. It’s no wonder that OpenOffice has been downloaded so many times.
    I won’t even get into the practice of leaving older, vulnerable runtimes on unsuspecting Users’ systems. Supposedly, that’s been addressed with the latest runtime, correct ?
    As a home/SoHo support tech I’ve seen systems that had numerous runtimes installed … and they waste HD space, not to mention that they present security risks. Otherwise, why would each Sun Sec bulletin contain this disclaimer for Windows ?:
    Note: When installing a new version of the product from a source other than a Solaris patch, it is recommended that the old affected versions be removed from your system. To remove old affected versions on the Windows platform, please see:

  42. Kevin Hutchinson

    Congratulations on your monetization deal with Microsoft. It reminds me of the old days when they gave you a $2bn legal settlement for their J++ games – they always seem to step in and help Sun when times get tough. Irony huh?
    To those people who expect something for nothing (the religious FOSS crowd), remember you’re free to download and compile your own binary distribution. As the distribution provider, Sun gets the opportunity for a bit of opt-out payback.
    Any chance of a blog posting about where you plan to take your cloud technologies over the next year or two? is in transition.

  43. "just last month, we distributed more than 60,000,000 Java runtimes"
    Of course there is another method of obtaining a Java runtime: packaging in your distro courtesy of the IcedTea ( and OpenJDK ( projects. Thankfully, this is not only Free software but also comes free of the bloatware mechanisms you describe as being employed in Sun’s Windows binaries.

  44. Helpful info

    Do a survey, ask the users of Sun SW (Glassfish, Netbeans, Solaris, J2XE, Sun ONE, OpenSSO/DS/Portal/….etc), how many of them also paid Sun for consulting and support service ? how many of them also bought Sun’s server to run the software ?
    This statistic is crucial to your company.

  45. You need a Visual Basic / Javascript competitor. Something designed with beginners/hobbyists/business developers in mind, not solely professionals and designers.
    You need a visual designer for JavaFX.
    You need applets as an option again. Do you realize Netbeans doesn’t even have a Java Applet Project template?

  46. caizhen

    You should use the chance to change your company!

  47. I do not want to see any ads in openoffice, I just want all products and services for free. This is what happens when corporate interests get involved. I do not like having to see ads when I use Google, and I especially don’t like to see ads when I’m reading my GMail.

  48. pete

    Seems is following Wordperfect very fast now, or even Wordstar?

  49. bill

    I have a slightly off topic question … If software is your focus then why doesn’t Sun build the biggest, baddest software workstations on the planet? Putting out hot boxes for developers that are certified development machines for Windows, Solaris and Linux would seem to be a no brainer. Sun could make money here as well.
    Finding a hot software box for Solaris is no mean feat, without resorting to build your own.
    I’m just saying …

  50. W. Wayne Liauh

    "I do not want to see any ads in openoffice, I just want all products and services for free."
    I respectfully disagree.
    Ads have become an indispensable part of our life. How many of us read ad inserts first when we get our Sunday papers?
    Every Sunday morning, I am always anxious to see what specials CompUSA, BestBuy, OfficeDepot, CircuitCity, etc., have to offer. And I know I am not unique. can be designed to include an icon, which can be clicked to show various time-limited deals similar to those included in Sunday papers.
    Don’t assume that most of us have time to do the searches (to find things we want). The key element in e-commerce is trust. For desktop PC users, the most important product is not a browser, but an office suite.
    Thus, the key issue is, can Sun make something we can all trust, and then convert that trust into operating an e-market space? The revenue potential is huge. And everyone will benefit, too.

  51. Anonymous

    * 60,000,000 Java runtimes.
    * 3,000,000 copies of OpenOffice 3.
    * Lots of MySQL users.
    It is a great installbase, I hope Sun have enough resource to provide support service which is the key return according to your strategy.
    As I know, Sun field support force are HW guy, you need to hire more SW support force. Not cutoff 6000 heads.

  52. lucas luky

    just 1 advice:
    instead of just counting downloads you have ask yourself how many customers are satisfied.
    i’m probably responsible for at least 3 downloads of OO, but doesnt mean necessary that it fulfills my needs.

  53. Kebabbert

    A question: You want to accelerate adoption of Solaris among the nerds, the developers. I think you should make SunRay available for them. You know, the nerds love the idea of a powerful server with clients to administer at home. First they are likely to try Linux, and then maybe OpenSolaris. You should emphasize that it is easy to switch between solaris and linux, because both are Unix. The thing is, people dont like to switch because all their time and effort theyve invested becomes worthless. But if you emphasize that switching to OpenSolaris is similar to Linux, their effort has not been wasted. And, emphasize they can switch back to Linux from Solaris, without loosing anything.
    Anyway, in these times were everyone wants to save energy, SunRay is golden. If I worked at SUN, I would sell lots of SunRay. I would let nerds be able to buy SunRay. Package for them.

  54. AnonymousInnerClass

    You changing SUNW to JAVA and the recent news about Southern Assets Management wanting Sun to be split into a hardware and a software company made me think that Sun has wanted for some time to make this split. Jonathan! Please! Don’t do this! This is going to be very painful for me to digest such a split. I don’t know what to say. It will break my heart and I mean it. I am sure many other developers feel the same. Please resist the pressure. In a year or two everything is gonna be back on the track. Please don’t do this!

  55. Bill W

    Jonathan, i couldn’t agree more with AnonymousInnerClass!!

  56. Sun could also take advantage of MySQL pervasiveness bringing MySQL administrators in the (business) equation, offering them a compensation plan including free-certification exams (after spending more effort for making certifications worth having).
    MySQL administrators are definitely the ultimate network marketing tool, they know better than anyone else what is not in the free downloadable version (either is about how to run MySQL Cluster on Windows Server 2003 <; or Ruby querying MySQL <;).
    MySQL administrators are perfect sales representatives, but you need to (better) address their needs, offering different complements to your core product, and making them happy to be part of MySQL (business) success.
    It can be done.

  57. Cory Fenity

    Jonathan, I’m fairly new to communicating with Sun, however I’ve been following Sun for a long time. How should I go about making suggestions to you or others in the leadership team at Sun?

  58. Peter

    Hey JS,
    I know these are hard times, however I’d like to continue developing (playing) on Sparc, with decent 3D stereo graphics support and Niagara 2. Can you sell a tower version of your servers that have the ability to install full height graphics cards? Who cares if the PCIExpress connection’s only x8, it doesn’t make that much difference to performance, we can just beef up the graphics ram.
    Yep those NVidia Quadro’s will run under X Windows, without FCode support, provided Nvidia compile the binaries, no, they wont display the console, so make sure it also includes an XVR-300 or serial port for console.
    See, it’s just a bit difficult to do without Sun. Let us play, you just never know where it’ll lead to 😉
    Market them as tower servers and research dev servers, with plenty of SATA/SAS disk bays, make sure Nvidia provide the Cuda dev libraries too, the Graphics Cards can be optional extras. Bare bones, they’ll also make great SMB servers with SunRays, StarOffice 9 and all the Free Software you can think of pre loaded (accessible from sensibly laid out menu’s), in these hard times SMB’s don’t need to purchase a rack, Sparc’s proven rock solid reliability will bring enormous savings, given time, TCO remember. Service / support can mostly be provided remotely.
    N.B. Imagine the excitment this will generate among the developers, developers, developers and researchers. This wont be a costly exercise for Sun, it’ll just generate more interest, in the same way that retailers move around their shop front contents to attract more customers.

  59. Paul Almond

    OpenOffice’s strength is that it’s gaining momentum as a viable alternative. Please don’t quash this product’s popularity by adding adverts to it. You’ll result in alienating a lot of people, like me, who’ll either stay with an older version, fork the software or move to something else. Where’s the proof that advertising will work either for Sun or for the sponsors? I, like many, have never clicked on a Google Ad.

  60. Dave

    Hi Jonathan,
    We need to highlight articles like this (amongst the doom and gloom FUD posted by El Reg for example):
    "…Where Sun is now seems to be in possession of a technology portfolio that could be a deadly competitive weapon in the marketplace around next generation computing infrastructure…"

  61. loquitur

    Although Wall Street doesn’t "get" Sun, Apple sure does!
    This via NFS, DTrace, their historical acknowledgement of
    Sun’s server (and now storage) innovation, etc.
    A merger about now would be a synergistic winner both ways.
    Ignore any snarky commentary from negotiator-in-chief Even though they could purchase JAVA
    at minimal cost (e.g. a few years interest on cash, net of
    Sun’s cash), a marriage of mutual interests in both the consumer
    and business space would be amazing.

  62. Rares

    Since you seem to agree that developers are important, I need to insist on the point already made by Radu and Lucian. For about a month, downloads from Romania are being blocked. I have just tried another download and unfortunately nothing has changed. Download center support exchanged a few email with me just to eventually let me know that the Download Center has problems, and that’s where it all stopped. I am teaching at the local university operating systems and Java programming. This means I need Java and Solaris. I now have access to none, and I am not sure how to explain this to my students. Many companies in my city rely on Java, and there are many more all over Romania. This means countless developers. I am worried about this situation and the word about Java not being available for download anymore is starting to spread. I do not know the nature of the Download Center problems, but if fixing them takes more than a month, it may be of interest to offer alternative download options.

  63. Linux

    I guess I am the only person who finds this agreement as odd.
    OpenOffice is a direct competitor to Microsoft Office. MySQL is a competitor to SQL Server. I find it extremely hard to believe that Microsoft will push MySQL anywhere that the public will actually see. Setting up with Microsoft explains why Suns Office product got dropped from the google pack. Furthermore, Google seems to be going against java. I downloaded the craptastic browser "Chrome" and it did not include java support by default. There was also a fiasco about java and android a while back. Java is slooooooooow and bloated which make these two a match made in heaven.

  64. Dave

    @ Linux
    If any claim could have been made in the past for the JRE being slow and bloated, that claim certainly cannot be made now:

  65. Wes Adams

    Radu, Lucian, and Rares,
    We have found and fixed an issue that was affecting software downloads for customers in Romania. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
    Best Regards,
    Wes Adams
    Sun Microsystems, Inc

  66. Rares

    The downloads from Romania are working again! Thank you for fixing this!

  67. gohidg

    I am also a fans of Sun. Wish sun do well in the future.

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