In a bid to boost its stock price, Sun Microsystems changed its ticker symbol Monday to JAVA.
The market's reaction? That's fine, kid, here's a quarter. From the time of the announcement on Thursday through its Tuesday peak shares gained about 25 cents. That may not sound like much, but with 3.66 billion shares outstanding it's about $900 million.
John Ogg of 24/7 called the move a stunt. Blogging Stocks made sure to mention Sun's $3 billion stock buy-back. TechIQ said they got a bigger hit with a mention on Jim Cramer's blog. Will the company's actual name become Java?
Lost amidst the hype of CEO Jonathan Schwartz's blog post is the inescapable fact that Wall Street, for now, thinks open source is cool. Why else would SugarCRM hint at an IPO after getting right by the OSI definition?
I happen to be among those who consider Sun's course change both correct and sincere. As Schwartz noted in his post, far more people are now touched by Open Office and Java than by Sun servers. Sun's open source products, and the contributions others make to it, are having a serious market impact.
But skeptics, including Sun insiders, will continue to wonder how Sun spins this straw into gold. Partnerships and investments are fine, but show us the money. The possible loss of a federal contract means far more to the bottom line than all the free downloads in the world. (The picture, by the way, was downloaded from Schwartz' blog.)
So, can Sun make it work, or will this move in the end taste like just another bad cup of coffee?[poll id=49]