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Oh, those wacky Silicon Valley geeks!
On the threshold of Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: JAVA ) passing into the afterlife as an operating arm of Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL ) , Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz has sent an internal memo to all of his underlings. Some would call it heartfelt, others touchy-feely.
Either way, after reading the memo, I am left wondering whether Mr. Schwartz is completely out of touch or just desperate to comfort his workers. Both options point to a massive disaster about to happen.
Think I'm being a bit melodramatic? Well, let's sit down together and have a closer look at the evidence, and then we can sing Kumbaya by the campfire like the aliens did in Avatar.
- Schwartz says that there are "only a few hurdles remaining -- before Oracle formally expands beyond software to become the world's most important systems company." Ever heard of IBM (NYSE: IBM ) , Jonathan? I applaud your optimism, but you're taking it a few notches too far.
- "I doubt any company has had such a significant influence over the way we see or experience the world." A little less preposterous, but still off the mark. IBM's servers running AIX are older than Sun's Solaris (though the discontinued SunOS dates back further than Solaris), and so are Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ ) HPUX servers. You could easily argue that Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO ) played a larger part in Internet history than Sun ever did.
- "Upon change in control, every employee needs to emotionally resign from Sun. Go home, light a candle, and let go of the expectations and assumptions that defined Sun as a workplace. Honor and remember them, but let them go." Schwartz tells you to treat the memory of Sun much the same way you'd handle losing a loved one. Is Sun dead to him already? Well ...
- "Sun is a brand, Oracle is your company." There you go. Sun, the business organization, is dead to Schwartz already. All that remains is a brand name and a smattering of mostly disconnected products and services.
If you read through this missive and come to the conclusion that Oracle will embrace Sun's corporate culture with open arms, I have a bridge in San Francisco you could buy for a bag of plastic beads. Sun will dovetail with Oracle about as well as Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) would have meshed with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) , like Bobby Bowden coaching the Oakland Raiders, or like sprinkling chocolate syrup on your tuna sandwich. Yuck.
This will not work out the way Larry Ellison and Schwartz are hoping. Sun would have been a better technical fit with IBM, but the culture clash would still have been earth-shattering. I guess it was just Sun's time to fade into the shadows of history, never to be heard from again.
Bye-bye, Sun. We hardly knew you.