Turn off the lights; the party is about to be over for 4,000 to 5,000 employees of Sun Microsystems
Typically, such news brings forth shouts of joy from investors. Though they certainly feel compassion for those losing jobs, a leaner workforce typically translates into a more efficient business. But there's no investor joy today. Instead, skepticism among Wall Street's elite has the stock down by nearly 5%. Apparently, the changes don't go far enough for most to tolerate a position in the stock.
I'll grant you that Sun's corporate governance changes seem to be mostly symbolic. Plus, it's never been proven that cutting costs ignites growth. Instead, cost cuts are intended to match a firm's resources with its cash-generating ability. That seems to be what's happening at Sun; the company is a second-string player behind IBM
Still, the stock is trading as though there's simply no hope of Sun ever igniting growth. I can't believe that. Despite its problems, it has a history of successful research and development. Take the Java programming language, for example. I suspect that's why Sun has been consistent over the years in R&D spending on a total dollar basis. That's a signal that executives believe growth will come from innovation; I believe they're right.
Analysts, however, doubt it. A recent Associated Press story suggests that Sun's growth days are past and that there are no meaningful innovations left that would tip the scales in the server market. Well, Fool, they may be right. But data center requirements have changed dramatically in recent years, and Sun's embrace of the Green Grid initiative proposed by Advanced Micro Devices
Has the Sun set forever? Maybe. But I prefer to think of its predicament like a Scandinavian winter; it may be dark for a while, but dawn will come again.
Let us shed light on related Foolishness for you:
- It's time to say farewell to former CEO Scott McNealy.
- Want to know why Sun is laying off workers? Check the Q2 numbers.
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers worked at Sun in the late '90s. You'll have to forgive him if he's rooting for a comeback. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out which stocks he owns by checking Tim's Fool profile . The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy .