Sun Microsystems in the Twilight Zone

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : BSTA103 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Case Length : 13 Pages
Period : 1982 - 2004
Organization : Sun Microsystems
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Not Available
Countries : Global, USA
Industry : Information Technology


Sun Microsystems (Sun) is a leading manufacturer of workstation computers. It has traditionally pursued a unique, vertically integrated business model. Unlike most computer hardware vendors, Sun makes its own chips (SPARC) and operating system (Solaris). Sun rose to fame during the early 1990s with its huge bet on the server market paying-off. Riding the exploding growth in that market, Sun grew faster than any other computer company to reach revenues of $1 billion. But things have not been going well for Sun in recent times. Sun's stock price, which hit $60 by the end of 2000, has fallen to about $3 by August 2004. In mid-2004, Sun seems to be beset by various problems. Low cost computers based on Intel chips and Linux software are posing a major threat. The company's cost structure appears to be bloated.

There has also been major management turmoil. It remains to be seen whether Sun can overcome these problems and reinvent itself.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Suns's Business 3
Suns Decline 5
The Road Ahead 8
Exhibits -


Sun Microsystems; Microsoft; Dell; IBM (International Business Machines Corporation); Linux; Business model; Solaris; SPARC (scalable processor architecture); Hardware; Servers; Innovation; Business process; Application server; Sun's decline

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