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Sun Microsystems Businesses Oracle Technology

Slow Oracle Merger Leads To Outflow of Sun Projects, Coders 409

An anonymous reader writes "Sun Microsystems might have had a chance if the Oracle merger had gone through quickly, but between the DoJ taking its time and the European Commission, which seems to get off on abusing American firms, just plain dragging its feet, that won't happen now. As Sun twists in the wind, unable to defend itself, and Oracle is unable to do anything until the deal closes, IBM is pretty much tearing Sun to shreds. By the time this deal closes, there won't be much left for Oracle. This is not how a Silicon Valley legend should end."
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Slow Oracle Merger Leads To Outflow of Sun Projects, Coders

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    "the European Commission, which seems to get off on abusing American firms"

    Kind of like how the USA seems to "get off" on taking down middle eastern fundamentalists and strong men.

  • FUD article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hexghost ( 444585 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:33PM (#29302581) Homepage

    Stupid article - so three coders (JRuby team) quit, and Sun's losing in sales to IBM (which they were doing anyway before the merger).

    • Re:FUD article (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:03PM (#29303123)

      Over the past year we've been looking at enterprise level database platforms. PostgreSQL served us well in development and initial stages of production. Initial consideration was given to SUN, IBM, and Teradata. But it was clear a year ago that SUN's days were numbered. After they started talks with IBM we didn't give SUN much thought after that. Also they lacked a true enterprise level database (sorry MySQL fans, but NDBCLUSTER is still horribly buggy and what we need goes beyond Master/salve replication) & hardware platform and we wanted both from the same vender. Sorry, but I've been in the "It's a hardware problem, no it's a software problem" disputes between venders too many times.

      I know a lot of other businesses who thought the same way once the talks were underway with IBM. Why buy a platform that you don't the future of 6 months from now?

      Which is sort of sad. I worked around Sun machines 12 years ago. We had a few boxes that were from the 1980's running Solaris 2 (or 3 I can't remember now) that were STILL supported. Something went wrong, they sent in the old grey beards to fix it. Same with applications. We had a certified app that broke in Solaris 8 or 9 and Sun sent a team of engineers to help us fix it.

      • Re:FUD article (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @05:08PM (#29304701) Journal
        I'm confused. You're looking for an enterprise database, but you're ignoring the company that makes the best platform for running the most successful enterprise database... because it is in the process of being bought by the company that makes the most successful enterprise database? I sincerely hope I never have to work with anyone who makes decisions based on the same logic as you.
        • logic (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Gary W. Longsine ( 124661 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @07:16PM (#29305917) Homepage Journal
          There are so many people working in the IT industry who are deficient in basic logic, it should scare you. We don't teach it in schools, it's little wonder so many people are so poor at it. We don't teach the basic logical reasoning fallacies, either. We are paying the price for this educational failure in so many ways.
    • more FUD about EU (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jipn4 ( 1367823 )

      and the European Commission, which seems to get off on abusing American firms

      In what way is the European Commission "abusing American firms"? Seems to me they are doing exactly what a regulatory authority for a big market like the EU should do, and they are regulating European firms just as much as American firms.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kandresen ( 712861 )

      For not to mention very biased. The European Union is doing its job here, unlike the US authorities who simply cut short the investigation and accepted the merger due to plunging profits in SUN. There is real issues here: Java is the most dominant development tool not only for Oracle but SAP and IBM and so on. Just because SUN is failing does not reduce this threat. This is the only time the government has a chance at setting requirements for preventing unfair competition.

  • Not news, is it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:34PM (#29302599) Journal
    When a company is taken over, the corporate "feel" usually suffers. I have seen a few companies that were taken over from the inside (I experienced the take-over itself in one occasion), and the employers were never happy with it. And as always, the best people have the best chances, so they leave first...
    • I've been through 3 M&As they are _NOT_ fun.
      However, there is a period of time in each one where you can better your situation appreciably as long as you approach the situation properly (how this is I hold as a trade secret).

      So far I quit one job as a result of merger, bettered my situation as a result of the second (quite well), and then for the third I was cut and re-hired ?!? by the parent company, all without separating my employment with them (new, better yet, job though).

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:38PM (#29302657)

    This is not how a Silicon Valley legend should end.

    How should they end?

    Spectacular bankruptcy like Enron?

    Seems like most in silicon valley do a slow fade into oblivion and are eventually acquired for peanuts and never heard from again. 3DO, Transmeta, Borland, Quarterdeck, SGI, etc...

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:42PM (#29302737)

      How should they end?

      #shutdown -h now

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:48PM (#29302835)
      Normally, silicon valley companies end like this:
      • As the company grows, management makes engineering work on boring projects and support issues
      • The top-tier engineers jump ship to newer, smaller companies for more interesting work
      • The company limps along for a while with second-tier engineering
      • The shell of the former company fades into oblivion and/or is bought out
      • The new, exciting companies everyone went to become larger and more successful than the original

      For example, SGI may have died, but nVidia and Mozilla (to name only two) are doing quite well, thanks.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cryfreedomlove ( 929828 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:18PM (#29303339)
        I wish I had mod points today because this is one of the most insightful and simple things I have seen posted on Slashdot.
        Engineers need interesting work and great colleagues. Without those things, the great engineers will bail and a vicious downward spiral will begin. This is why I am never surprised when government sponsored information system re-writes spend millions of dollars and never finish (California DMV).
      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:59PM (#29303871)

        We weren't in Silicon Valley, but our company ended like this: By 1999 we had grown to two offices and about 70 employees, had an award winning retail product and an online mall. We we're still private. After about 5 unsuccessful tries at getting VC, a Canadian company who processed credit card payments offered to buy us for ~$43M USD. They wanted our mall, so that they could make money in about 6 different ways from it. When the sale was announced but not complete, my stock was worth about $1.8M at their current stock price :) Unfortunately, they missed the point that our retail software was what generated the stores in the mall. As soon as the sale went through in 2000, they stopped development and sales of the retail product, laid off about 30% of us, and then gave the remaining people really stupid things to do for about a year while they slowly figured out what went wrong. At this point I was worth about $800K. :| For 6 months all I did was get paid >$100K/yr to drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, and surf the web. Eventually there was a meeting at which they admitted that their business and our business (now basically dead) were irreconcilably different, and announced they were shutting down all US operations. I was on the street Jan 1, 2001, and my stock was now worth $1200 :( Incredibly, when a group of us that had worked on the retail product approached them asking if we could retain the source, trademarks, remaining stock, etc., with the intent of reviving it, we were told that they would never allow us to do this because it "would look bad to the stockholders". As if blowing $43M didn't look bad enough? D'oh!!

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:38PM (#29302659)
    The summary places a lot of blame on regulators. But in fact, the article quotes IBM claiming the announcement of the acquisition is what drove people to IBM; that obviously has nothing to do with subsequent delays. As for talent leaving, the article provides one example of 3 employees who left because they were unsure of Oracle's commitment to their work. However, there is no reason to assume the EU or DOJ have anything to do with this. Oracle could have reassured them at any time, if they knew, and cared, which isn't a very realistic expectation for a small team in a big merger. What is motivating the story submitter to put so much unwarranted blame at the feet of the EU and DOJ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Unequivocal ( 155957 )

      Mod parent up. The OP is light on facts and heavy on interpretation. Non-story.

    • by eln ( 21727 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:48PM (#29302849)
      The government comes into play because they're taking an enormously long time to approve the merger. This allows IBM and its ilk more time than they normally would have to poach customers before Oracle can step in and engage in concrete action to stop the bleeding. So, the government delays do play a role. Yes, Oracle could try (and has tried) to reassure everyone that it will be business as usual with the hardware segment, but until they're able to actually take control of that segment and do something concrete to convince people, the uncertainty remains. Where uncertainty exists, other companies can come in and exploit it.

      As for the talent leaving, that happens in any merger because, once again, people hate uncertainty. If someone is facing a lot of uncertainty in his job, and has the ability to go elsewhere, he will probably do so. Ironically, the people most likely to move on are often the ones that would have been the most likely to be kept by the new company anyway, since they tend to be the top talent.
    • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:57PM (#29303023) Journal

      Oracle could have reassured them at any time, if they knew, and cared, which isn't a very realistic expectation for a small team in a big merger.

      But anyone in that position knows that those assurances aren't worth the air breathed to utter them.

      Given today's job market, if you're in an uncertain position, and you get a good offer elsewhere that seems more certain -- you take it.

      What happens if the regulators deny the merger application? If you've stuck around, now you're in a lame-duck company and you can see your employer has lost a large portion of your customer base to IBM.

      What happens if the merger is accepted? At least now you've got a chance of your employer taking advantage of Oracle's sales & marketing force, etc. That is, if you're not let go as a result of the merger.

      In short, employees are leaving Sun because they don't like uncertainty. Never mind the customers leaving Sun for the same reason (amongst other reasons).

      The length of time it's taking for the review process is definitely a factor.

      That said, I think the review is important, and I hope it's taking so long because of thoroughness, not because of some stupid attempt to hamstring American companies.

    • As for talent leaving, the article provides one example of 3 employees who left because they were unsure of Oracle's commitment to their work.

      In addition to that example that article also had the most hilarious attempt at making the brain-drain seem significant EVER: "Talent defections are common in acquisitions. Losing the JRuby crew [the three employees in question] isn't quite as bad as losing James Gosling, the creator of Java. He remains firmly with Sun but his departure would be devastating if it did happen."

      In other words, "yeah, I know the loss of these guys doesn't seem like a big deal but imagine if someone important left! We're not s

    • by Narpak ( 961733 )

      The decision by the European Commission to extend its investigation into the deal, worth $7.4 million, is especially sensitive because the U.S. Department of Justice has already approved the merger. Regulators in the United States questioned Oracle's market power in some areas of its business but raised fewer concerns than the Europeans about open-source software.

      In announcing the decision, Neelie Kroes, the European Union's competition commissioner, appeared to signal a different approach Thursday, warning that the acquisition could hamper development of an important software product owned by Sun, which specializes in computer hardware. The product, MySQL, is the most widely used corporate database software in the world, and it competes with products produced by Oracle.


      "Europeans still have a lot more concerns than Americans about companies using strong or dominant positions to create a bottlenecks for competitors in the information and technology sectors," said Peter Alexiadis, a partner at the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, who is based in Brussels.

      "Any whiff of dominance over different platforms used to deliver information raises particular concerns," he said. "This may in part explain why Europeans, who are used to multiple business traditions, might be less inclined to view Oracleâ(TM)s traditional strengths in databases as not posing competitive concerns."

      From E.U. to Review Oracle's Takeover of Sun Microsystems []

  • He's dead, Jim. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:42PM (#29302733) Homepage Journal

    This is not how a Silicon Valley legend should end.

    Why not? How, exactly, should a Silicon Valley legend end, like Enron did? Nothing lasts forever.

  • Two different things (Score:4, Interesting)

    by aafiske ( 243836 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:42PM (#29302735)

    There seem to be two points in the article and summary. The one that makes sense is that the slowness of the merger is murdering Sun's business. The other is that the slowness is causing people to leave. I doubt the latter is true. People do not want to work for Oracle, fast merge or slow merge.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The other is that the slowness is causing people to leave. I doubt the latter is true.

      Well, I can't speak for anyone else here, but I have to say that the suspense is killing me. Beginning to seriously question whether or not I feel like sticking around for another quarter to find out whether or not the new overlords are interested in what my group is doing.

      And then, of course, there's the question of whether or not I want to work for Oracle to begin with. Were I not a wage-slave with mortgage, family, et

    • Oracle is OK (Score:5, Informative)

      by Doc Hopper ( 59070 ) <> on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:01PM (#29303077) Homepage Journal

      My two cents: It doesn't suck to work at Oracle. Pay is fair and above market, benefits are good, employees are treated fairly, and there are a lot of exciting projects going on to choose from as a techie. If you don't like what you're doing for a living, there are numerous opportunities always available in something more suited to your interest, and telecommuting is encouraged in most "talent" positions, so relocation is largely a non-issue. The employees I work with (admittedly, we're a rack-monkey and operating system nerd crowd) are generally optimistic and excited about the merger.

      Yes, as part of the M&A process there have been layoffs from time to time. With the exception of hostile takeovers, they are fairly predictable in advance, severance is decent and fair, the door remains open if you decide to rejoin the company later, and as far as a huge Fortune 500 company goes, it's a really decent place to work. If you work in some of the larger locations there are nice benefits on-site for free or at really reduced prices (gyms, cafeterias, massages, to name a few), and there is a lot of employment flexibility.

      Of course there are annoyances like paperwork, lengthy project approval processes, ITIL compliance, SOX compliance, and so forth. Welcome to working for any large company. But to say "People do not want to work for Oracle, fast merge or slow merge" is simply false. By and large, it's a good company to work for, and the low turnover rate and lengthy average employment time amongst extremely talented and well-educated people speaks to overall job satisfaction.

      • Re:Oracle is OK (Score:4, Interesting)

        by cryfreedomlove ( 929828 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:25PM (#29303445)
        Oracle is beginning it's own long slow decline. The large apps on the internet are all moving away from RDBMS and into scalable key value stores. Oracle will only get to remain in the G&A aspects of those business, not in the front line internet customer apps. Read 'The Innovator's Dilemma', it is happening to Oracle. Get out while you can.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The large apps on the internet are all moving away from RDBMS and into scalable key value stores.

          And when those who've migrated discover in a few years that they can no longer manage their data in any meaningful fashion, they'll re-invent the wheel, give it a shiny new name, and waste cubic miles of breath denying that this is what they've done.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by spinkham ( 56603 )

          The applications moving to "key value stores" are not the oracle crowd. They're the MySQL crowd.

          Oracle has more to fear from PostgreSQL then they do key-value stores. And they still have the upper hand there in terms of support for quite a while.

        • Re:Oracle is OK (Score:4, Insightful)

          by hibiki_r ( 649814 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:29PM (#29304219)

          Ever try to do GIS in a key-value store? Statistical analysis? Data mining? Billing?

          Key value stores are great for high throughput applications that have very simple and predictable access modes. But for anything else, you are much better of with a RDBMS.

          The front line customer apps is not where the money is. It never was, and it never will.

      • Re:Oracle is OK (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:18PM (#29304071)

        The problem isn't being an Oracle employee, it's being an Oracle customer. That seems to be a seriously negative experience for a lot of people.

  • Hopefully more projects and coders will leave Sun before they get absorbed into Oracle, the industry's largest pool of promising, stagnating technology.

  • So IBM first tried to buy SUN, but then realizes that SUN is losing business anyway and gives up on the offer. This further screws SUN up. SUN stocks fell 22% that day on news of the failed takeover. Now, because of the delay in the Oracle acquisition, IBM is trying to make hay in the sun (pun not intended) by going after as many SUN customers as possible. This is just a ruthless business strategy by IBM. Instead of buying a troubled company and getting their customers, they waited to make their situation w
  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:52PM (#29302913)

    Citing two sources familiar with the situation, Reuters said that the EC's antitrust concern centers around Oracle getting its hands on Sun's MySQL database. U.S. antitrust officials, who earlier signed off on the deal, made no such concerns about MySQL.

    If the EU is actually delaying anything over this, then they're either doing it for political reasons or out of incredible incompetence. MySQL is open source and has already been forked. So what if Oracle gets ahold of the IP behind MySQL?! They cannot close source MariaDB, Drizzle, etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They cannot close source MariaDB, Drizzle, etc.

      Ah, the names. They sure do inspire confidence in the enterprise space, I gotta say.

    • by Ksempac ( 934247 )
      MySQL is a brand which started to get well-known for entreprises. Look at PostGreSQL for another open-source database which for now doesn't have the marketshare nor the recognition it could have based solely on his technical merits.
      So, MySQL is/was more than a bunch of code files that can be forked, it's a real company that started to make a dent in the database market, driving cost down for customers of such products, and producing incentive for both Oracle and MS to lower the prices of their products/enh
  • I'm just a little confused. How can the European Commission block the merger of two US firms? I can see why the FTC would be an issue, but once the US regulators are happy, how does the EC have *any say* in this at all? This seems like a really screwy thing - what's next - for any two companies to merge, they need the permission of EVERY COUNTRY ON EARTH?

    I suppose, what it comes down to is, those two need EC permission to have offices/do business in the EU, right? The way I see it, if this article is right

    • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:34PM (#29304279) Homepage

      How can the European Commission block the merger of two US firms?

      The short answer is that they can't. The companies are free to go ahead and merge without receiving EU permission. They are also free to not sell anything in the EU or be fined heavily if they attempt to do so. I doubt that Oracle wants to give up this lucrative market.

      Why do so many of my fellow Americans have trouble understanding this? Are you dense? Governments do this sort of thing. They actually want to have a say about what gets sold in their countries and by whom. And, frankly, what you think of the practice is irrelevant, unless you can get enough people to agree to convince our government to negotiate a treaty or declare war, since you have no voice in any government but that of the US. Suck it up...

      • Sovereignty. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JSBiff ( 87824 )

        "Why do so many of my fellow Americans have trouble understanding this? Are you dense? Governments do this sort of thing. They actually want to have a say about what gets sold in their countries and by whom."

        Yes, yes, that's all fine and good. However, seems to me that something like a merger of two foreign companies who both happen to do business in your country is rather a bit out of the purview of *another* country's authority.

        "since you have no voice in any government but that of the US."

        And why should

        • Re:Sovereignty. . . (Score:4, Informative)

          by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @06:12PM (#29305367) Journal

          I'm sorry, but I just do not see that it is anything less than a loss of sovereignty for the US, to expect that US business must get foreign approval for changes in ownership.

          They don't need foreign approval to merge.

          What they need to know is whether they'll be allowed to sell their products and services in that very large foreign market if they do merge.

          The confusion, I think, is because it's a kind of mental shorthand to think of it as merger approval, when that is not actually what is under consideration right now.

          I hope this clears it up a bit for you. There's no question of sovereignty here. There's only a question of money -- Oracle shareholders would not approve the merger if the EU would not allow merged company to conduct business there, since they'd lose billions.

  • If all of Sun's JRuby developers left to work for Engine Yard, what possible impact might this have on the JRuby project? Will Sun continue to support JRuby development? Does this decrease the chances of Ruby someday becoming a mainstream part of Java?

  • I sold my Sun workstation on CraigsList before this news hit

  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:19PM (#29303349)
    "Silicon Valley legend"? Sun made it's fortune by taking BSD Unix and commercializing it, selling it pre-installed on boxes. Sure, most of the enhancements made to PCs over the years appeared years earlier on Sun workstations (e.g. CD-ROM drives, sound cards, and Ethernet), but ever since the rise of Linux as a viable alternative to Unix, Sun has been floundering about looking for a viable business model. Spark CPUs? Give me a break; no matter how good the initial design was, if you don't have the several billion dollars a year Intel is putting into R&D to improve the chips, you're fighting a losing battle. Java? Great idea, but you give it away for free, and never have figured out how to make money off of it. Now they can't compete in hardware with off-the-shelf X86 boxes, and they can't compete in software with Linux (being supported by their rival IBM). In short, they have no real business model and no real reason to continue existence. Oracle is doing them a favor by offering to buy them out. Oracle has been trying for years to sell a database appliance with Oracle preinstalled, but they keep running up against that "can't compete with off-the-shelf X86 boxes" barrier too. Sure, Sun invokes fond nostalgia for many, many Unix nerds, but face it -- it's dead, Jim.
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by catmistake ( 814204 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @05:34PM (#29305015) Journal

      but ever since the rise of Linux as a viable alternative to Unix, Sun has been floundering about looking for a viable business model.

      That wasn't it. Sun's failures have less to do with linux and probably more to do with marketing taking over the company and messing with the expensive, but rock solid, hardware their clients came to trust -- and replacing them with cheaper variants. When they did this they gambled their niche for larger margins, and they lost. The "rise of Linux" wouldn't even make it as a footnote in the story of the fall of Sun. Linux may have been on servers 10 years ago, but these installations were a joke compared to AIX and Solaris installations at the time. Only in the last few years has linux even come within striking distance of AIX and Solaris... and no, Linux has not yet surpassed what serious admins have come to expect from AIX and Solaris afa uptimes, i.e. staying up under heavy crushing loads.

      • by omb ( 759389 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @06:56PM (#29305757)
        SUN's problem was that they could not figure out What_to_Do, the reason for that was that the founders, Shah, Joy & Bechtalsheim all left and the stars of the second level of management were never sucessfully engaged, and the paren is exactly right, SUN, largely founded by those who jumped ship from DEC faithfully repeated DEC's most significant mistakes,

        the Cult of the CEO, Olsen & McNealy

        transfer control from Engineering to Marketing

        getting into, and spending lots of money on, fights that are Just not Worth Winning, JAVA

        SUN grew, and outpaced Apollo (domain) HP and the when HP bought Apollo's market share, both again.

        But it did not take long for in-fighting and huberis to set in and bring SUN to where they are today,
        so that Oracle is today's Compaq.

        Oracle will kill both the SPARC and Java track as they exist today as neither can be monetized. It will be
        very intersting if Java can succeeed on its merits, I hope not, Python is a far nicer language.
  • SO basically (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tjstork ( 137384 ) <todd.bandrowsky@gma i l .com> on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:28PM (#29303469) Homepage Journal

    Three ex-sun developers didn't have Oracle kiss their rears and so they left and tried to get a little hype for themselves by saying their former masters are dying. Regardless of whether or not its true, the whole way they tried to get some press is pathetic. If they want to make news, make a product release with cool features.

  • by djnewman ( 1318661 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:30PM (#29303509)
    I really think it's Capitalism at its best! If Sun had been minding the business store and its marketing plan had been sucessful it would not be being eaten by wolves today. It's not reasonable to blame the EU or IBM either. The EU is looking out for itself (and European citizenry), and IBM is doing its job by killing off the competition.
  • Say what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jimpop ( 27817 ) * on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:54PM (#29303809) Homepage Journal
    "This is not how a Silicon Valley legend should end"

    It's almost fitting considering how some of Sun's best customers were left out in the cold with bad CPUs and RAM, while Sun lawyers (waving signed NDAs in hand) were more prevelent than Sun Support engineers. Remember all the press about that? What, you don't? It's because it was silenced by Sun.
    • Re:Say what? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by EvilAlphonso ( 809413 ) <> on Thursday September 03, 2009 @04:41PM (#29304375) Journal

      My experience working in Sun Services, taking care of Gold and Platinium level customers...

      The ECC fiasco with the Blackbirds and following revisions was the bookcase example of how not to treat your customers. Customers were lied to, then lied to some more, then received defective pulls as replacement after 2 errors on the same CPU, then lied some more. Until the scrubber patch got released, my average customer had 2 CPU swaps per week.

      Receiving defective pulls for customers was the norm rather than the exception... sometimes the customer's own defective parts from the previous intervention, RMA box still sealed but with a "tested OK" sticker magically applied on top of the red "DEFECTIVE" sticker. This applied to disks, memory, CPUs, motherboards... all parts really. Making things worse, the standard procedure was to have the parts delivered directly at the customer... so the engineer didn't get a chance to check for DOAs beforehand.

      In the end, the only trick was to order a batch of replacement parts in the hope of having a working one delivered at the customer. Said trick would of course end up damaging your score for the next evaluation... but so would an unsatisfied customer lodging a complaint for substandard support. I gave up, moved to Professional Services then to Pre-sales before leaving.

  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @05:10PM (#29304731)

    ..the European Commission, which seems to get off on abusing American firms...

    Oh, horseshit. I've worked in American companies with European offices for years and have seen no such thing. Europeans are just as happy to take American dollars as anyone else. The EC countries do, however, have rather more stringent antitrust laws than the United States (and more consumer protections, more privacy laws, and so on). If you do business in a country, you have to respect their laws, just as European countries doing business in the US have to respect our laws (or our lawlessness in many matters). That Microsoft and Oracle -- two companies that are hardly well-loved here -- have had trouble in Europe hardly constitutes a pattern of "abusing American firms".

    It may be that the real issue here is that Oracle, like Microsoft, gets off on anti-competitive practices, and as a result often finds itself up against laws against the same, in Europe as well as the US.

  • by jwhitener ( 198343 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @06:34PM (#29305587)

    I read the 'tearing sun to shreds' article and it sure was exaggerated.

    The article title is "Defections Batter Sun Micro.".....whatever. Three jruby developers left, and they didn't go to IBM.

    Next the article talks about 170 sun customers going to IBM. And then mentions that none of Sun's big customers have switched to IBM. I wasn't able to find the total Sun customer count...but I'll take a guess and say that 170 is less than 1% of their total.

    I know that's Luminis portal for higher ed is mostly installed on Solaris, and there are 75+ installations of that one application alone. One app (Luminis), for one business type (Edu), is nearly half of this "massive exodus" away from Sun.... give me a break hehe.

  • The New York Times (Score:4, Informative)

    by andersh ( 229403 ) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @06:38PM (#29305621)

    The New York Times says:

    Another issue that may have led the Europeans to take more time over the case is the way that Oracle has handled regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Oracle notified E.U. regulators of its deal in late July, more than two months after it had informed U.S. officials.

    European merger watchdogs can take a dim view if companies spread out their notifications between jurisdictions over long periods of time, and they have said in the past that such tactics might be designed to pressure the Europeans to give the green light to takeovers already approved in the United States.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein