Remember a few years back, during the heyday of the Internet bubble, when analysts were throwing around evocative triplet alphanumerics such as B2B, B2C, and B2G? These abbreviations referred to businesses whose customers were other businesses, consumers, or governmental agencies, respectively. You don't hear these hip little terms as much these days, but they're still around, and they're still important.
Sun has, of course, dealt in the B2G sector before, so this nascent division is essentially an expansion of an already existing company tenet and a way to centralize operations. As the announcement indicated, for example, America already utilizes the Trusted Solaris Operating System as a "de facto platform standard for all U.S. government secure communications."
The nasty worms and viruses constantly plaguing the Internet represent a problem that will never go away and will most likely only worsen over time. That makes network security an increasingly valuable service. If Sun can convince those who control the budgets for technological infrastructure around the globe that its servers and software are the best way to combat this area of concern, then a lot of revenue could be captured, especially from countries still in the early stages of buildup.
Sun's stock has seen a 52-week trading range between $3.14 and $5.93. Investors are obviously less than thrilled with the prospects of the company. Its last earnings report didn't exactly inspire a lot of confidence, and it continues to struggle against strong competitors such as Microsoft
My feelings on Sun continue to be lackluster and decidedly grim. The whole idea of owning a stock is for it to grow robustly, like a healthy plant -- but I'm afraid there is no photosynthetic action on the part of this equity. Even Selena Maranjian singled out Sun as one of her potentially regretful investments. Sun could certainly surprise everyone several years from now, but it's too speculative of a gamble for my current tastes. If I'm going to take a spin on the roulette wheel, I'd rather go with a surer bet, like Shuffle Master
Of course, those last two names are just in keeping with my gambling metaphor. There are plenty of other quality names out in the market that represent good long-term potential. Unfortunately, one has to wonder if Sun will ever again be counted among such a group.
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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns no shares in any companies mentioned in this piece.