I am often stunned by the lack of understanding in comments and opinions on the web. Here’s today’s example, culled from reactions to the possibility that IBM could acquire Sun:

Sun should stay independent. The only way Sun can retain the integrity of it’s research and vision, along with freedom to improvise would be without any influence from parties which obviously have a vested interest in it’s future (or lack of it thereof). Besides Apple and Google, Sun is the only BIG tech company that dares to innovate. Sun’s investors should start looking beyond the quarterly disease that plagues corporate america and start looking at the long term. Sun, with it’s hardware line and Solaris/Opensolaris is an industry leader—and given a chance to thrive, they will be able to retain that edge and make it sharper. Best route is for Sun to go private for a few years, make some tremendous innovative products, revolutionize the market and then go public again…

Let’s dissect this:

  • “integrity of it’s research and vision” - That’s an academic department, not a company. The point of a company is to sustain. If the company can’t produce products that are saleable then it can’t be sustained.
  • “influence from parties which obviously have a vested interest in it’s future” - Gibberish. That describes virtually everyone.
  • “BIG tech company that dares to innovate” - “Dares”? I’ll say this, Sun does invest in the outcome of skunkworks projects and turns them into strong technologies. But they fall down when capitalizing them.
  • “quarterly disease that plagues corporate america” - Which is directly linked to the “monthly disease that plagues corporate america”, aka the payroll. If a company can’t sell products, it can’t generate revenue and can’t support it’s staff. Meeting revenue targets is the best way to plan and control that process.
  • “given a chance to thrive” - What’s holding them back now? If they have innovative, best in class technology, why isn’t the world beating a path to their door?

The truth is that Sun has no clear vision of who they are, what they build, or how to capitalize on what they have. Innovation without application is useless and they deserve to fail or get consumed if they can’t cross that gap.