Sunday, November 20, 2005

Where we're going

Since Jon Schwartz became President and COO of Sun, they've gained a clear vision, strategy and direction. The upside is that they know where they are going - the downside is the long slow wait to get there. Jonathan appears to have a keen grasp of economics and industrial history - and these attributes bode well for Sun's future. He clearly believes that computing will become a utility resource, like electricity and water in our offices and homes. He also realises as the price of software trends to zero, the value (profit) will come from services and hardware.

But here's my first problem. In February 2005, Jon proudly switched on the Sun Grid but I still can't use it. Now that's poor execution. Similarly, in a Q1 earnings call, analysts said customers could not get hold of new "Galaxy" servers. It will probably be the same with "Niagara" servers in Q2.

My second issue with Sun is usability. Although Jonathan is pushing the value of simplicity through the organization, much of Sun's wares and web sites are HARD TO USE. Let me give you an example - try downloading Sun Studio 11 for Linux. You'll have to jump through a few hoops. Even if you just want a faster C++ compiler, you'll probably need to install Java, NetBeans, etc. Why the unnecessary complexity? If Google can give anything to Sun might I suggest interface design would be a good starting point?

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