Sun, Apple, and the Fortune 500
mentioned that the Fortune 500 list for 2006
is now online, and commented that Sun's position
, at #211, is still impressive.
Sun's position is indeed relevant, even slipping from #194 last year, #211 still makes you a very large and very relevant company. Still, it means that Sun is below Apple
(which it wasn't in 2005), and profit figures aren't impressive, either, with Sun reporting a 107 M$ loss that places it at #36 in the "Losers
Blame Nick Carr
or not, IT, especially hardware and operating systems, is indeed seen by many managers as a commodity of sorts. It's up to the challengers to change that perception - not the incumbents. So HP and Dell can play along with the "commodity" approach and still profit from it, while Sun and Apple can not.
Apple has done a pretty good job at it; it's very easy for the consumer to distinguish from an Apple product and a non-Apple product, they have a different perceived-value, thanks to marketing but also to some true innovation and design.
When it comes to Sun, I talk to a lot of people that really find little subjective difference between Unix boxes, they are ready to choose Sun or IBM or HP based on reasons other that the platform's merit. They are often wrong, but it's not a trivial task to prove them wrong before they make their decision. IBM and HP have a lot of success stories they can come in and tell you. In the end, the decision is based on price, on "synergies" (whatever they may be, real or not) and on "ability to deliver on time".
What is Sun going to do about it? What makes a Sun product better than its competition? And does the average CIO know about that?
Those are the questions that will define Sun's rank in the Fortune 500 2006 list.