Wow, they switched the ticker. It will be little surprise to hear that the internal conversation has been sustained and loud. While there have been negatives along the lines of “OMG WTF PHB!?!?”, most of the internal talk has echoed what they’re saying out in the blogosphere. I’d like to add a couple of points I haven’t seen elsewhere, one each on the pro and con side.

My own take? I hate it. But that’s mostly because I’m a search guy. SUNW was a 4-character (32-bit!) identifier, unique in just about any context, meaning, “The publicly-traded equity of Sun Microsystems, Inc.” Such a token seems precious to me. Now, our best equivalent is “NASDAQ:JAVA”. Which will be perfectly effective in the hands of financial professionals, but some Technorati and Googleblogs feeds just became much less effective, I think.

On the positive side, I’d like to quote Pat Patterson, from an internal mailing list:

It’s no bad thing for every business/financial report on the company to contain the string “Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAVA)” rather than “Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW)”.

Yep.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Louis F. Springer (Aug 25 2007, at 22:20)

The loss of the happily unique "SUNW" over the ubiquitous "JAVA" when searching for stock quotes is the the most thoughtful reason I've heard for disliking the change. I hope the busted searches will remind me of the event for years to come.

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From: Alex (Aug 25 2007, at 22:33)

Good point on the search aspect, the same thing actually occured to me today. I have a few shares of stock and like to plug "SUNW" into Google News and see what's up. Now, with "JAVA" my results will be far less relevant. I guess I'll have to type more. Also, I assume that it's reversable. If it turns out to be lame a year from now, switch back.

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From: Julian Gall (Aug 26 2007, at 00:06)

Products and technologies come and go. It's not inconceivable that Java will lose out to something else and Sun may focus its attention elsewhere. Or Sun may just have a good new idea in the future. Imagine Apple had changed its symbol to IPOD.

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From: Bruce Boughton (Aug 26 2007, at 01:12)

I'm imagining Apple changing their stock symbol to IPOD but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to imagine. They removed Computer from their name but it hasn't stopped people buying computers from them--in fact their share of the laptop market has increased 2.2% since this time last year.

It's undoubtedly a gimmic on Sun's behalf designed to provoke discussion about Sun--and it's clearly worked (for one day at least). It's a shame because Sun have some great products, Java included.

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From: walter (Aug 27 2007, at 16:34)

"A SUNW is a SUNW is a SUNW" ... not matter what you call it.

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From: Chris Adams (Aug 29 2007, at 12:49)

The question I have is what the real benefits are going to be. A lot of high-level time and money were spent on the change and I have trouble seeing that as anything other than a sunk cost.

If Java's perceived luster is fading the answer should be a campaign to fix some of the long-standing gripes rather than a vanity ticker symbol. My impression of Sun had been going up because the non-Java parts of the company (servers, OpenSolaris) compensated out the Java side where long-standing design flaws, performance problems, etc. never seemed to get attention.

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From: Chris Adams (Aug 29 2007, at 15:54)

The question I have is what the real benefits are going to be. A lot of high-level time and money were spent on the change and I have trouble seeing that as anything other than a sunk cost.

If Java's perceived luster is fading the answer should be a campaign to fix some of the long-standing gripes rather than a vanity ticker symbol. My impression of Sun had been going up because the non-Java parts of the company (servers, OpenSolaris) compensated out the Java side where long-standing design flaws, performance problems, etc. never seemed to get attention.

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August 25, 2007
· Technology (77 fragments)
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