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Growth Strategies Case Study

Case Title:

Sun Microsystems : A Case of Missed Opportunities

Publication Year : 2006

Authors: Tirthankar Ray

Industry: Engineering, Electrical and Electronics


Case Code: GRS0153K

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Sun Microsystems started its operations in 1982, with an office in Santa Clara, US. Sun’s biggest break came in 1995, with the development of Java, a universal software program that enabled its developers to write a program in one language that could be run on any platform. The company netted huge profits during the dot com boom of late nineties when its expensive but high performing servers (working on Solaris operating system and powered by SPARC chips) were in great demand. However after its meteoric rise, Sun started losing out on its business towards the end of the dotcom era in 2000-2001. During that period a number of dotcom and telecom companies went bankrupt; thus bringing in recession in the world economy. As the demand for high end products fell, Sun’s competitors started manufacturing and marketing servers powered by low-cost Intel chips and nearly free Linux operating system. Sun however failed to read customer’s mind and continued pushing its high end products, although much cheaper versions introduced by the competitors were then already available in the market. This lead to a sharp fall in profit & market share of the company.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss the reasons behind the meteoric rise of Sun
  • To discuss as to how the company failed to perform amidst rising competition and threats particularly from Microsoft.

Keywords : Sun Microsystems; Operating system; Growth Strategies Case Study; UNIX; Hewlett Packard; Microsoft; Dell; IBM; Dotcom; Server; Solaris; Hardware; Intel; Linux

Contents : 
Sun Microsystems: An American Software Icon
Sun’s Missed Opportunities
Can Sun Be Revived?
World Market Share Of Sun Microsystems And Its Major Competitors
All About Unix
History Of Dotcom Companies From Their Boom To Burst (1990-2001)
Sun’s Failure To Understand Customers Needs

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