Stockholders and employees are among the most vocal critics of Jonathan Schwartz's move yesterday to change Sun's stock ticker to JAVA. Here's my pick of the most thoughtful, scathing, informative, or just funniest comments posted so far.
Reaction to yesterday's announcement that Sun was changing it's stock ticker to "JAVA" has been swift and almost entirely negative. As of this writing, there are about 200 comments on CEO Jonathan Schwartz's blog where he announced the new stock symbol, with reactions running 10 to 1 against the move. I picked 25 of my favorite comments and arranged them below into categories for Negative, Neutral, Positive, and Funny. Almost all of them are from current and former employees, or from stockholders.
What a TERRIBLE idea! When we used "Java" in the name of all our software products a few years ago, customers were confused and frankly just laughed at us-- Java Desktop System was the prime offender, as it mostly uses no Java technology whatsoever. We're still licking our wounds and only just beginning to change the name of JDS now in OpenSolaris. So why use it for a company where most of the staff and products aren't Java-related either?
-- Posted by Numpty on August 23, 2007 at 09:46 AM PDT
Sun once again fails to grasp the big picture. While 'Java' may be better known by the public than 'Sun Microsystems', the perception of Java by the public isn't good, so why associate the entire company with it? Synonyms for Java are 'Big', 'Fat', 'Bloated', and 'Slow'. Are those the terms you want to characterize your company? Actually, as a former employee, I'd say those are actually pretty accurate. Nevermind, sounds like a great idea!
-- Posted by Josh on August 23, 2007 at 10:47 AM PDT
I am a huge fan of Sun. I have used Java since it was invented. I want you to succeed. But this is the worst idea I have ever heard of. Worst ever! Johnathan, you must be drinking your own kool-aid. Sun is a systems company with storage, chips, servers, operating systems, VMs, middle-ware,applications, services, etc. Java is only a small part of it. The ticker symbol represents the whole company. If it is not aligned with the name of the company, confusion will result. Changing SUNW to JAVA is a distraction, a waste of time and money when there are much bigger fish to fry, and will ultimately cause brand confusion - not clarity. Eat some crow and reverse this decision.
-- Posted by scott on August 23, 2007 at 11:26 AM PDT
I agree with scott's post above. I work at Sun and have seen the reaction of several Sun employees. Nobody feels that JAVA represents what we do and the services and products that we offer better than SUNW. Sun has been around for a decades and SUNW ties back to the historical beginnings of the company and closely matches the company name. Java is an excellent programming language, run time, "enabler", etc., but please let Sun stay SUNW. The other posts along the lines of "Sun is now run by marketing drones" echo another sentiment this change is bringing about. I hope this decision can be reversed.
-- Posted by Anonymous Sun Employee on August 23, 2007 at 11:37 AM PDT
If Sun's products cannot be limited by one category, they WHY ON EARTH is Sun using a ONE CATEGORY ticker symbol to define itself in the financial market? Why NARROW the scope to Java?? We're the dot in ... no, wait ... We're Eco ... oops, I mean ... We're all about web 2.0 ... umm ... " Sun has ADHD at the highest levels, and the monkeys have taken over the zoo.
No wonder stock price stays at sub-$5 forever, the market knows that until this company is run by some guiding principle other than a wet finger in the wind, it's going nowhere, fast.
-- Posted by anonymous on August 23, 2007 at 11:45 AM PDT
What happens to Sun Solaris?? is it going to be Java Solaris??? By any chance - History added one more fool day
What about the Pride of Working for Sun Microsystems - for me no more
-- Posted by Sai on August 23, 2007 at 12:26 PM PDT
Very nice: new trade name but still same low value of shares! I have been waiting for already 5 years that the stock price reach a value of 14 US - as I bought them when I was employed at Sun.
I feel betrayed that Sun takes good money of little employees income for shares, but is not able to give even the same price back. Well done, Jonathan!
-- Posted by Patrizia on August 23, 2007 at 12:31 PM PDT
With all due respect to Jonathan's decision and understanding of where he is coming from, I feel that it is unfortunate that Sun has decided to bet its farm on Java. Being an active Java developer and an avid user of Solaris (and owner of a few SUNW shares), I'd say that the greatest software asset that Sun has is Solaris. Java as a platform, in my view, has a shorter lifespan than Solaris. I would not be surprised if, in a few years, Java will be totally eclipsed by other technologies. The only redeeming value of Java in the long run may be its JVM. The reason why I feel that Solaris has a brighter future is because it is a solid (and dare I say, the best) implementation of the UNIX model. This model, after more than 30 years, is still the best for opearting systems, despite innovations in micro-kernel, object-orientation and other areas of OS research.
I have not even touched upon the great innovations that Sun has been doing in the hardware arena in the last few years. Its change of focus on Java, in my view, is an unfortunate insult to the great engineers at Sun who are not actively working on Java.
-- Posted by Hering Cheng on August 23, 2007 at 12:48 PM PDT
What a waste of time. What if Java loses some of its brand value at some point in the future. Does that mean the death of Sun Microsystems ? I can only think of changing our stock symbol over the years from SUNW to NFS to SRAY (sunray) to N1GE.... With the amount of work left to be done to get Sun being consistently profitable, is this really important to do ?
-- Posted by Krishna on August 23, 2007 at 12:51 PM PDT I'm curious about what sort of research was done that supports the move of changing the ticker symbol.
As an employee and stock-holder, I question the use of any amount of resources for this change. In the face of layoffs, any amount of money spent on the research and promotion of such a change appears wasteful. While I do not hold any sort of degree in marketing or business, I find it hard to believe that potential investors (or customers for that matter) will be swayed in our direction because our ticker is now JAVA.
Please provide us with the research that shows this change and the resourced devoted to the change will drastically impact our market share/stock price.
-- Posted by Micah on August 23, 2007 at 01:07 PM PDT
I worked at Sun 1986-1994. It was a wonderful experience, working with some of the best people in the world. Sure, we self-deluded ourselves that we were a pure software company at that time but, for the most part, people bought our stuff because it was fast and ran the best implementation of UNIX at the time (prior to the "merge" with System V, which we barely survived). It's been heartbreaking to see the company become largely irrelevant. Thank God AVB is back, because the man's a genius and is building great hardware, which he's always done. That made me feel better about Sun's prospects. But this? Just shoot me. Massed legions of marketing weenies (note how "weenies" is always paired with "marketing") must be firing up whatever you make them use instead of Powerpoint to explain how this is the second coming. If nothing else, they must be shaking in their boots in Redmond about this stunning move.
-- Posted by Alex Osadzinski on August 23, 2007 at 04:02 PM PDT
I am really struggling to understand this. There are so many people within Sun, including engineers, that do not use java day to day. What is a move like this trying to say ? If Sun is java, then what message does that send out internally ?
JDS and JES were marketing failures. I really don't see how this helps Sun's 'brand'. I'll also be disappointed if the money and resource spent on this 'spin' could have been used to save ONE job at the forthcoming RIF ...
-- Posted by Confused Sun Employee on August 23, 2007 at 06:04 PM PDT
This makes me happier than ever to have left Sun and sold off all my stock. Focus on the fluff, not the substance (like you have for years) and maybe Sun will get acquired by someone who can do a better job.
-- Posted by Ex-Sunnie on August 23, 2007 at 06:09 PM PDT
Seriously, Johnathan.... I am SO glad I don't work at Sun anymore. You guys have run that company into the ground by focusing on stupid shit like this instead of, I don't know, developing better products?
-- Posted by Rod on August 23, 2007 at 06:17 PM PDT
Rather than reurgitate the sentiment that Java is NOT what sun should be known for (it's NOT that great, compared to all of sun's real achievements), I will second what someone else said earlier:
What a blow to morale inside the company. First a seemingly good Fiscal Year is announced. Then a wide-ranging layoff. And now this?! No joke, I wonder how much this costs in change and administrative fees, and how many employees' jobs could have been saved (who trusted in SUNW and are now paying for earlier bad decisions) by not embarking on this silly, unproven, venture. Pondering to the kids with games on their cellphones and techies that already know that Java is slow (and are much more interested in sun's hardware and solaris) is not wise.
To me, a stockholder I don't care about the ticker symbol. I do care about the costs and silliness of changing it. The argument for doing so makes no sense. And if I was working at sun, this would surely probably rub me the wrong way.
-- Posted by R. Whittaker on August 23, 2007 at 06:37 PM PDT
I've always admired the great technologies and advancements Sun made in the world of computing. Java is a great technology, no doubt about that. But isn't Sun much more than just Java? OpenSolaris, OpenOffice, Niagara systems, Storage, Services, etc aren't all these great too? For the past couple of years, the changes happening in Sun are great for the company, its developers and the computing world. Changing SUNW ticker to JAVA isn't one among them. SUNW is a nice ticker for Sun and hopefully it wouldn't change.
A user, supporter and investor.
-- Posted by anonymous on August 23, 2007 at 10:52 PM PDT
OH MY GOD.
All sun employees are walking around grinning at this. We have gone from anger to acceptance to resignation to good plain old humor.
What were you thinking Jonathan?
-- Posted by Disappointed Sun Employee on August 23, 2007 at 11:19 PM PDT
Why not make the ticker symbol "OPEN." This captures the philosophy of the company more than listing a product name. Just a thought from a fellow marketing weenie.
-- Posted by Bryan on August 23, 2007 at 12:57 PM PDT
When I first heard this I was shocked and disappointed.
Shocked because, as a Sun employee, I thought we deserved a heads-up before it was public (still waiting for an update on why that did not happen)
Disappointed because I felt it was sending a message to lots of loyal Sun employees that "the hard work you have done to make Sun relevant in the marketplace has not been enough, and we need to change stock symbols so that people can find us"
Having read the earlier comments, I now feel OK - the company is still Sun. How many people "discovered" Sun because its stock symbol was SunW = 0. How many MIGHT discover us because of the linkage with JAVA = >0. That's enough for me. Don't get the company's name and reputation mixed up with the stock symbol - that's a mistake I was making, and now I'm over it.
-- Posted by Paul D on August 23, 2007 at 03:01 PM PDT
Yikes! All this over a ticker symbol?
I say put it to a vote at the shareholder meeting :-)
-- Posted by Dominic Jones on August 23, 2007 at 08:23 PM PDT
BRILLIANT ! BRILLIANT ! BRILLIANT !
As a somewhat new Sun SE who left IBM for a more ethical & innovative company, I think this is a brilliant strategic move for Sun.
Why? Well, when people ask me where I work I reply "Sun Microsystems."
To my disappointment, I most always get a puzzled look returned while being asked, "What do they do?" I always respond with "Well, one thing they've done as a computer company is that they invented Java; do you know what that is?"
They ALWAYS say yes, they know of Java! If I get a detailed answer in return, it is usually (1) Java is a computer thing (from my mother) or (2) Java runs on my computer sometimes (from my sister) or (3) Java is a web language (from the Cub Scout next door.)
~*~ JAVA ~*~ Sun's best brand asset! Upon reflection, I'd like to see us move to rename the company SunJava or even just Java eventually!
Consider this from a potential customer's perspective: If you were to Google or Yahoo search for SunJava...the result return set will be a lot more specific than what is now returned by Keywords "Sun" or "Java".
JAVA will never be seen to be unsophisticated & juvenile like the Ticker Symbol: BUD. The Anheiser-Busch slam someone made earlier is totally unwarranted. "Sun" and "Java" as audible words have always made me feel a bit "Saturday morning happy."
NAMES ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO CUSTOMER FIRST IMPRESSIONS. Example: I always thought that the name "Starbucks" had a great first syllable "Star" but a pretentious last syllable "bucks". Combined with the green corporate color of their signs (and the price of their coffee)...they even sounded greedy! When I first heard of Starbucks...I thought it was a joke name (where I didn't get the joke!). Being my usual sleepy-self in the morning--a friend's request "Go to Starbucks with me" always leaved me feeling like I should be vigilant before someone picks my pocket waiting in the Starbucks line.
SunJava ! Both words suggest brightness, happiness, & comfort (e.g. no anxiety).
Don't worry, be happy! JAVA & Sun brands together are headed for prominance with the general population! A good thing.
-- Posted by Skip (Harvey) Bogard, Sun Pre-Sales SE on August 23, 2007 at 01:33 PM PDT
Maybe a better ticker symbol would be LOON?
-- Posted by Department of Renaming Things on August 23, 2007 at 11:28 AM PDT
When will Sun require the name of its CEO to be Duke?
-- Posted by Darren on August 23, 2007 at 02:03 PM PDT
Dude! You totally could have changed it to 'PONY' - everyone would have wanted one! :)
-- Posted by Glynn Foster on August 23, 2007 at 05:28 PM PDT
Get the stock over $10/share and I don't give a **** what you call it johnny boy!
-- Posted by Dave Malhotra on August 23, 2007 at 08:33 PM PDT
What do you think of the Sun and Java brands and the ever-increasing tendency to co-mingle them? Add your own opinion below.