Sun: The 'O' in the Old Economy?

CHICAGO (04/19/2000) - In his keynote address here today Sun Microsystems Inc.

Chief Operating Officer and President Ed Zander criticized Wall Street for selling off Internet infrastructure stocks together with loss-making dotcoms.

Zander said Wall Street analysts were telling him that Sun would suffer because of the problems faced by dotcoms, a market Sun targets with its "We're the dot in dot.com?" advertising campaign. Zander joked Sun's new slogan would be "We're the 'O' in Old Economy?"

"What the analysts don't get is that there are a lot of solid companies on Nasdaq that are delivering this Internet infrastructure to the old economy," said Zander, accusing Wall Street of "second-guessing the dotcom economy."

Sun's stock fell over the last few weeks as the market soured indiscriminately on technology stocks, but it rebounded Monday and Tuesday.

Zander went on to lay out Sun's view of the future of computing. An important part of that vision is that Internet appliances will be "stateless," with all user information residing on back-end servers andoperating systems becoming invisible to the casual user. He demonstrated Sun's SunRay thin-client device and criticized PCs for being too complex.

Zander also had a message for U.S. President Bill Clinton, saying he hoped schools wouldnot be flooded with hard to manage PCs. "This idea of giving every student a PC is the wrong idea," he said. "What we really need to give students is simple access to the Internet."

In the next five years, Sun will focus on three areas, said Zander: delivering massive scalability up to thousands of processors, delivering "continuous real-time" and presenting customers with an integrated stack of hardware and software. Zander said customers are asking Sun to deliver suchan integrated stack, which will include hardware, operating system, Web server, application server and more.

Zander concluded his presentation with some advice to enterprises, including a call to outsource everything that is not a core competency. "If you have any money for IT this year, don't invest it in operating system upgrades but in bandwidth and outsourcing," the Sun executive said.

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