The more I stare at the recent results from Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW), the more I'm reminded of Peter Lynch's frequent -- and hilarious -- remarks about Sun competitor IBM (NYSE:IBM). No matter how much he tried to figure it out, or when he bought the stock, IBM always left him baffled and sorry he'd held it.

To judge by the confusing numbers and tumultuous conference call yesterday, Sun may end up leaving many investors feeling the same way. To begin with the nitty-gritty: Sun's quarterly loss was less than last year's, coming to one negative nickel per share instead of -$0.09.

But that second consecutive increase in revenues touted in the headline to the earnings release? Almost a whopper. The reported 3.6% sounds pretty slim already, but when you strain out the 3% gimme resulting from the dollar's continued freefall, the progress stands at a measly 0.6%. (Yeah, nice of them to leave that little tidbit out of the release.)

If that's not enough reason to convince you Fools to check out the conference call, yesterday's sparring between inquisitive analysts and tight-lipped management should make you reconsider. These folks ducked more questions than the presidential candidates.

Among the un- and poorly explained mysteries: What's the deal with the big drawdown in backlog? What are the real numbers of the AMD (NYSE:AMD) Opteron servers Sun keeps braggin' up? Why the decline in SPARC server units? What's likely to be the state of margins going forward? What are the specifics of the new initiative to give away hardware in exchange for service contracts (and vice-versa)?

Here's a question for prospective investors to answer. Is this the kind of company you want to do business with? Even when you get the answers you want, it's tough enough to judge the prospects of a firm that's slugging it out with heavyweights such as Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), IBM, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Red Hat (NASDAQ:RHAT), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and others. How on Earth would you put a value on Sun's prospects?

With much confusion, it seems. The dizzying variation of analyst predictions for Sun's 2005 runs from -$0.11 to $0.25. Leave the stock alone until events or management shed some light on future prospects. This sun may not rise for a while.

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Seth Jayson thinks Sun's technology looks pretty nifty, but he prefers a bit more candor from management. At the time of publication, he had positions in no firm mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.