|To: Charles Tutt who wrote (64797)||4/7/2009 4:11:52 PM|
|From: Mark O. Halverson|
|Sun Board to Meet Tomorrow as Talks With IBM Dissolve |
By Connie Guglielmo and Katie Hoffmann
April 7 (Bloomberg) -- Sun Microsystems Inc.’s board plans to meet tomorrow to discuss the collapse of acquisition talks with International Businestrss Machines Corp. and next steps for the company, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Schwartz and the board, including co-founder Scott McNealy, unanimously rejected a buyout offer from IBM last weekend that valued Sun at about $7 billion, the person said. The talks have gone quiet for now, the person said today.
Schwartz had a heated debate with McNealy, who was part of a minority group of directors that objected to the acquisition, the person said. McNealy, who co-founded Sun 27 years ago, turned over the CEO role to Schwartz in 2006. Schwartz wanted the deal to happen, although he concluded that it wasn’t in Sun’s best interest because the price was too low and there was little certainty that the merger would close, the person said.
“IBM would seem to be in the driver’s seat,” said Michael Shinnick of Wasatch Advisors Inc. in South Bend, Indiana. The firm manages assets of about $4.5 billion, including 1.1 million Sun shares. “I don’t think it’s likely other suitors emerge.”
Shawn Dainas, a spokesman for Sun, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. Edward Barbini, an IBM spokesman, declined to comment.
Sun, based in Santa Clara, California, fell 22 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $6.34 at 3:49 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.
Schwartz, 43, is facing pressure to resuscitate earnings growth amid a slowing market for computer servers, the powerful machines that run company networks and Web sites. Sales at Sun, the fourth-biggest server maker, have slowed for four straight quarters and the company may post an annual loss of $1.24 billion this fiscal year, according to analysts’ estimates.
Sun’s shares have fallen about 25 percent since the two companies broke off merger talks over the weekend.
In a statement yesterday, Sun said it is “committed to its leadership team, growth strategy and building value for its shareholders.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Katie Hoffmann in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org; Connie Guglielmo in San Francisco at email@example.com
Last Updated: April 7, 2009 15:51 EDT
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|To: Sr K who wrote (64800)||4/7/2009 10:58:46 PM|
|From: Mark O. Halverson|
|Did Sun's total package kill the IBM deal?|
By Gavin Clarke in San Francisco
Posted in Financial News, 8th April 2009 00:34 GMT
It's ironic but fitting that executive bonuses, a subject that's ignited popular anger against the very companies in Sun Microsystems' core customer base on Wall St, helped kill Sun's future.
It's been reported that a disagreement between IBM and Sun over post-acquisition packages for both chief executive officer Jonathan Schwartz and chairman and co-founder Scott McNealy helped sink a deal that sources last week told The Reg was imminent.
Schwartz and McNealy would have received a package of combined salary and - yes, incredibly for a company that's missed numerous boats and trod water for the past nine years - bonuses worth three times their annual pay.
Schwartz, whose been leading the failed crusade of first giving away Sun's software and then somehow monetizing it later, was last year paid a basic salary of $1m.
So far, Sun's refused to comment on what it's called rumors and speculation about a deal, while IBM's been unavailable for comment.
If the IBM deal did sink because of haggling over packages, it would be a sad comment either on the failure of the egos hanging on to their Ts and Cs or the overzealous lawyers arguing for their clients to see the bigger picture of giving Sun and its customers a decent future.
The talks - publicly at least, are off. This could, of course, be the continuation of negotiations by other means: both sides playing hardball, meaning a deal's still in the air.
There can, though, be no question that Sun entered this courtship as the weaker party so it's hard to see why IBM should be tempted to bite. Sun remains overstaffed, becalmed and still recovering from the last recession. Forbes has produced handy recap of six mistakes made by Sun under McNealy and new broom of Schwartz.
I'd add one more, as most people tend to overlook this: middleware and applications.
Software was ignored under McNealy for all his fightin' talk of taking on Microsoft. It only came into vogue under Schwartz, who had a passion for open sourcing Sun's assets and allowing the revolving door or talking heads to continue turning instead of tackling some root-cause problems by installing talent and devoting resources to the subject at hand.
The result has been that, when it comes to working out how to make money off open source, Sun is still rubbing two sticks together while IBM's walking around with a Zippo. Even Microsoft is managing to cash in on open-source, not by throwing open the gates and figuring out the details afterwards, but through a deliberate strategy of making Windows work better with open-source like PHP and Sun's MySQL database.
In measure of how far Sun's open-source strategy has failed not one of three organizations in Sun's core Wall St constituency attending lat month's Open-Source Business Conference said they were running Sun's touted Fedora clone OpenSolaris. Those companies were Bank of America, futures and options house the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Wall St IT services specialist Fidelity Information Services.
At the best, OpenSolaris is penned up in the labs where it's used to benchmark hardware performance by the Mercantile Exchange. And if you think that bodes well for sales of more Sun-only servers in the long run, think again. BoA said while Solaris is its third-largest install base: "It's going to follow the migratory path to x86 that the industry is following."
Despite this, Sun's senior management still thinks projects like OpenSolaris are actually worth something. Bloomberg reported Sun's board: "Contended IBM wanted too much control over Sun's projects and employees before the deal closed, without providing guarantees that the transaction would be completed if it faced delays such as antitrust review."
If this is true, it sounded like Sun wanted to graft itself onto IBM and drag it down too.
However, IBM operates in the real world of profit and loss, and sources told The Reg categorically that IBM failed to get a satisfactory answer on which, if any, of Sun's software makes money.
The result was IBM staffers going through Sun's books and its portfolio couldn't recommend keeping any of Sun's software assets beyond what we reported last week - MySQL for systems, Java for licensing and continuity, and Solaris for the services business. It looked like projects such as OpenSolaris and others were heading to a community graveyard.
If Sun is playing hardball with IBM in the hopes of getting a better price and firm guarantees, then it'll be a long time waiting. There's no reason for IBM to buy any of the software projects Sun's attached so much importance to. And that will mean staff cuts.
Even Sun knows the reality - it's just in denial about the scale. In recent months Sun has had to cut staff involved in marketing and engineering on OpenSolaris and desktop Java as part of planned redundancies.
Only if Sun accepts the full facts, and quits playing the kind of Silicon Valley game that has given Web 2.0 services like Digg ridiculous assumed valuations based on nothing more than number or users and potential future revenues can Sun's own future resume in earnest, with IBM.
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|From: Don Green||4/9/2009 1:42:28 AM|
|What Could Microsoft Want With a Chip Guy?|
It’s not too surprising that microprocessor guru Marc Tremblay has decided to leave Sun Microsystems, which was experiencing challenges and executive departures well before the brouhaha over stalled takeover talks with IBM. More intriguing is the fact that he is going to Microsoft, which is not exactly a center of chip design.
Tremblay, in an email, referred questions to a spokeswoman for Microsoft. She could only provide a statement with a few boiler-plate facts about his new job: He will hold the title of distinguished engineer in the “strategic software/silicon architectures” group under Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer.
This is not a group that many people knew existed. The spokeswoman could not answer when it began operating, or how many people are in it. But she said Tremblay will manage a team of technologists “who will help set the company strategy for software and semiconductor technologies, as well as maintain relationships with semiconductor companies.”
Stepping back, it’s easy to see how a person with Tremblay’s talents could help the company. Microsoft’s Xbox division, for example, has to think about which microprocessors to consider in designing a follow-up to its current gaming console. Its Windows group, meanwhile, has to design new versions of the operating system for the rapid proliferation of chips with many electronic brains rather than one or two.
Tremblay, who was chief technology officer of Sun’s chip unit, certainly has the credentials. During 18 years at Sun, he amassed at least 100 patents–the most of anyone at Sun–and led the development of several important members of a chip line called Sparc that has long powered Sun’s flagship server systems.
That hardware represents a sliver of the market compared with machines based on x86 chips, the kind sold by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. But Sun in recent years put out an eight-processor Sparc chip–part of a line that had the code name Niagara–that has sold very well for small servers.
Tremblay, whose departure was reported Tuesday by the New York Times, is more closely associated with a chip called Rock that was designed for high-end machines. And Rock has not been such a happy story; in February, Tremblay told reporters that the chip, which will have 16 processors, won’t be ready until the second half of 2009–compared to an original arrival date of the second half of 2008.
And that part of Sun’s server line faces long-term questions, whether or not IBM decides to buy the company. Billings for those systems declined 32% to $662 million in the second quarter ended in December, while the Niagara-type machines grew 31% to $369 million.
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|From: Arthur Tang||4/9/2009 5:25:06 AM|
|There is a 'titanic' shift in semiconductor designs that Microsoft is interested. Mainly, surface cmos circuits or buried cmos circuits. The speed is night and day in favour of surface circuits produced by ion deposition with much less linewidth and layer thickness, avoiding wet chemicals. The buried circuits fill up holes, and use wet chemicals to do chemical mechanical copper polish(highK gates). Which can not be more precise in structure tolerances. So, the cpus are limited to 3.8 ghz. Surface cmos circuits are being developed upto 75 ghz target.|
Further more, the data processing of multicores can be 8 bit(ascii data streams) instead of batched branch prediction data processing of 32 bit multicores. 4 word batched processing(21 stages) is slow.
For the next few years, we are going to see ultra low core voltages(microvolts or nanovolts) to make computers without too much heat or using too much electrical power.
So be it. But then, Java may want to sell to Microsoft instead of IBM?
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)|
|To: Manly Dirk who wrote (64808)||4/10/2009 4:59:03 AM|
|From: Arthur Tang|
|I have been in the semi industry since 1958. Knew the Intel people years ago personally, Dr Bob Noyes, Andy Grove and Craig Barrett.|
I designed a wafer scale computer in 1980, when yield was only 90%. So research was done on dry chemicals to achieve 100% yield. We used ion(graphite) deposition to put a coating of diamond on Yag. Ion deposition equipment is basically 5000 volts from source to target in Argon atmosphere. Layer thickness is very precise and as thin as you want.
We did chemical mechanical polish, and thickness is not precise. So, gate dielectric thickness control is poor for higher cpu clock frequency. Intel semi process has a frequency barrier for many years now. Java has its cpus made by Hitachi. They also suffer frequency barrier in their semi processing technology. So, the whole industry needs to be cautious beyond the two camps of technology, IBM and Taiwan semi.
New semi industry plants in China will all go with ion deposition equipment.The technology of linewidth, 2 nm was achieved by Intel Hillsboro, and 3 nm at MIT Lincoln lab in 1998. The production of 32 nm is still being developed. Ion deposition made 2 nm linewidth and layer thickness easy to manufacture.
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|From: Arthur Tang||4/11/2009 5:22:11 AM|
|You may be interested in the future of computer design?|
Gene Amdahl was interested in my wafer scale computer concept. He was the designer of S370 vector mainframe computer for IBM. His wafer scale design was a few 4 inch silicon wafers at Amdahl in 1980, published in Scientific American. Mine was 8 inch with 100 8 bit cpus, multicored to be switchable to 800 bit mainframe computer tied together with shift registers.
You either process data with 100 channels of 8 bit data or 1 channel of 800 bit data or any divisions there of.
Of course, today, we go for ultra low core voltage to reduce heat and run very high frequency clocks(75 ghz target). Some production is being done in China for their future data center in each city.
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (2)|