Sun marks its 25th anniversary this week. To the outside observer, however, there may appear to be little to celebrate. Sun’s stock price languishes in the single digits, not even matching its performance of five years ago. Although the company’s product portfolio is brimming with innovative technologies, it seems unable capitalize on them. Sun stands poised at one of the most critical moments of its history, yet its ability to shape its own future seems doubtful.
There’s no doubt that Sun has superior technology. In the real-world IT market, however, superior technology doesn’t always win out. (Some of Sun’s competitors in the Workstation Wars can testify to that.) But the other card Sun has in its hand, after all, is sheer staying power. And as it marches onward toward its thirties, let’s not think of it as a company approaching middle age. Rather, it’s simply growing into maturity. As long as it carries on the cause of open source and open standards — both in name and in spirit — there will always be a future for it in the market, no matter what its shape.