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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Competing Against A Social Movement by Jonathan Schwartz

Jonathan writes,"It's tough to compete against a social movement. Especially one in which you're a believer. That's what Sun's been facing for the past few years when it comes to Linux. Linux represents all the ideals we've espoused for decades: openness, freedom, innovation, even open source (remember, Sun was started with open source). And I believe that those ideals cross political boundaries." Jonathan summarises Sun's state of affairs "But the past three years have been tough at Sun - we've been on defense against competitors coopt-ing that social movement against us. The economic distress experienced by our core markets (telco and financial services) started the storm clouds. But that was coupled by our hesitation (more on that in a later blog) to support Solaris on Intel or AMD microprocessors - a hesitation that left customers wanting to deploy x86-based systems with only two choices: Microsoft's Windows, or 'linux.' Given the latter's (deserved) popularity, coupled with a precipitous drop in telco and financial services budgets, it was easy (especially for HP and IBM) to say 'Linux is responsible for Sun's problems.' We were on defense". Sun's latest posture of making Solaris available across platforms is a saviour for the company.
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