Friday, November 14, 2008

Sun lays off 6000 and restructures Software division

I just read the news.

I don't know about you, but I was pretty much expecting this. Even though it may cost me my job, I am glad they bit the bullet and cut 15%. We're just burning too much cash and the size of the company didn't match its current market cap.

How do I feel? Relieved, in a way, because I knew it was coming. Am I affected? I have no idea. Nobody's telling the peeps yet, that will happen in the next few weeks.

Software is getting seriously reorganized. NetBeans is now part of the cloud computing platform. Why? My blog, my opinion: because I think Sun gets it that what Sun can offer in this space is a developer platform. Amazon Web Services is a bunch of cogs and wheels targeted at system admins. Google App Engine is focused on a very small slice of developers who are willing to work with Python and BigTable and don't mind locking themselves in to Google.

But Sun has something more to offer, a different path to take. If you combine the strength of the NetBeans development environment with a cloud platform, now you have something interesting. I look forward to see what this looks like.

The Open Office team is also part of the same group. Now that's intriguing. Open Office has a lot to offer over a pure SAAS play like Google Apps. I can envision (again this is just me thinking, don't think I have any kind of "in" to what's actually going on), I said, I can envision taking parts of Open Office and "cloud-enabling" them, while continuing to give a rich desktop experience. For example, I can envision saving my documents to a cloud-based storage service so I can access them anywhere, or adding collaboration features to OpenOffice ala Google Spreadsheets.

Similar realignments are helping elsewhere in Software. The OpenSolaris group is joining the Systems group so they can focus on innovative integrated solutions like OpenStorage. The MySQL team is going to work with the rest of the application platform folks like Glassfish and Identity to provide a complete solution with add-on and optimized products and services that can bring in revenue.

So there is a lot of opportunity here to innovate and make money (and of course an opportunity to fall flat on our faces :)). The question, as always, is, can we pull it off, will it be enough? Is this the right direction? Well, we'll just have to see. I may be crazy, but I like this company. People here are smart, innovative, dedicated and kind. I'm hopeful. The audacity of hope.

And will I be there to see Sun come out the other end? Well, we'll just have to see... :)


Anonymous said...

Hello David,
Yes, I just saw the news and came over to read the various blogs here, and saw yours. However this breaks, I hope we can still work on an Entrance IDE add-in for Netbeans. Stay in touch!
- Tod Landis

arjen said...

Well you never know which approach a layoff-cycle takes, sometimes it's short term business decisions, and just sometimes it's long-term strategic.

On the good side, some excellent talent may become "available" through this, and there should be no shortage of opportunity for those affected. There's a lot of good people.