The initial design for what became Sun's first Unix workstation, the Sun-1, was conceived by Andy Bechtolsheim when he was a graduate student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Bechtolsheim originally designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, taking the name Sun from the acronym of the network. It was designed around the Motorola 68000 processor with an advanced memory management unit (MMU) to support the Unix operating system with virtual memory support. He built the first ones from spare parts obtained from Stanford's Department of Computer Science and Silicon Valley supply houses.
On February 24, 1982, Vinod Khosla, Andy Bechtolsheim, and Scott McNealy, all Stanford graduate students, founded Sun Microsystems. Bill Joy of Berkeley, a primary developer of the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), joined soon after and is counted as one of the original founders. The Sun name is derived from the initials of the Stanford University Network. Sun was profitable from its first quarter in July 1982.
Sun's initial public offering was in 1986 under the stock symbol SUNW, for Sun Workstations (later Sun Worldwide). The symbol was changed in 2007 to JAVA; Sun stated that the brand awareness associated with its Java platform better represented the company's current strategy.
Sun's logo, which features four interleaved copies of the word sun, was designed by professor Vaughan Pratt, also of Stanford. The initial version of the logo was orange and had the sides oriented horizontally and vertically, but it was subsequently redesigned so as to appear to stand on one corner and the color changed to purple.The "Bubble" and its aftermath
In the dot-com bubble, Sun began making much more money, and its shares rose dramatically. It also began spending much more, hiring workers and building itself out. Some of this was because of genuine demand, but much was from web start-up companies anticipating business that would never happen. In 2000, the bubble burst. Sales in Sun's important hardware division went into free-fall as customers closed shop and auctioned off high-end servers.
Several quarters of steep losses led to executive departures, rounds of layoffs, and other cost cutting. In December 2001, the stock fell to the 1998, pre-bubble level of about $100. But it kept falling, faster than many other tech companies. A year later it had dipped below $10 (a tenth of what it was even in 1990) but bounced back to $20. In mid-2004, Sun closed their Newark, California, factory and consolidated all manufacturing to Hillsboro, Oregon. That factory later closed, in 2006.Post-crash focus Aerial photograph of the Sun headquarters campus in Santa Clara, California Buildings 21 and 22 at Sun's headquarters campus in Santa Clara Sun in Markham, Ontario, Canada
In 2004, Sun canceled two major processor projects which emphasized high instruction level parallelism and operating frequency. Instead, the company chose to concentrate on processors optimized for multi-threading and multiprocessing, such as the UltraSPARC T1 processor (codenamed "Niagara"). The company also announced a collaboration with Fujitsu to use the Japanese company's processor chips in mid-range and high-end Sun servers. These servers were announced on April 17, 2007 as the M-Series, part of the SPARC Enterprise series.
In February 2005, Sun announced the Sun Grid, a grid computing deployment on which it offered utility computing services priced at US$1 per CPU/hour for processing and per GB/month for storage. This offering built upon an existing 3,000-CPU server farm used for internal R&D for over 10 years, which Sun marketed as being able to achieve 97% utilization. In August 2005, the first commercial use of this grid was announced for financial risk simulations which was later launched as its first software as a service product.
In January 2005, Sun reported a net profit of $19 million for fiscal 2005 second quarter, for the first time in three years. This was followed by net loss of $9 million on GAAP basis for the third quarter 2005, as reported on April 14, 2005. In January 2007, Sun reported a net GAAP profit of $126 million on revenue of $3.337 billion for its fiscal second quarter. Shortly following that news, it was announced that Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) would invest $700 million in the company.
Sun had engineering groups in Bangalore, Beijing, Dublin, Grenoble, Hamburg, Prague, St. Petersburg, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, and Trondheim.
In 2007–2008, Sun posted revenue of $13.8 billion and had $2 billion in cash. First-quarter 2008 losses were $1.68 billion; revenue fell 7% to $12.99 billion. Sun's stock lost 80% of its value November 2007 to November 2008, reducing the company's market value to $3 billion. With falling sales to large corporate clients, Sun announced plans to lay off 5,000 to 6,000 workers, or 15–18% of its work force. It expected to save $700 million to $800 million a year as a result of the moves, while also taking up to $600 million in charges.Sun acquisitions Sun server racks at Seneca College (York Campus) 1987: Trancept Systems, a high performance graphics hardware company 1987 - Sitka Corp, networking systems linking the Macintosh with IBM PCs 1987: Centram Systems West, maker of networking software for PCs, Macs and Sun systems 1988: Folio, Inc., developer of intelligent font scaling technology and the F3 font format 1991: Interactive Systems Corporation's Intel/Unix OS division, from Eastman Kodak Company 1992: Praxsys Technologies, Inc., developers of the Windows emulation technology that eventually became Wabi 1994: Thinking Machines Corporation hardware division 1996: Lighthouse Design, Ltd. 1996: Cray Business Systems Division, from Silicon Graphics 1996: Integrated Micro Products, specializing in fault tolerant servers 1996: Thinking Machines Corporation software division February 1997: LongView Technologies, LLC August 1997: Diba, technology supplier for the Information Appliance industry September 1997: Chorus Systems, creators of ChorusOS November 1997: Encore Computer Corporation's storage business 1998: RedCape Software 1998: i-Planet, a small software company that produced the "Pony Espresso" mobile email client—its name (sans hyphen) for the Sun-Netscape software alliance July 1998: NetDynamics—developers of the NetDynamics Application Server October 1998: Beduin, small software company that produced the "Impact" small-footprint Java-based Web browser for mobile devices. 1999: StarDivision, German software company and with it StarOffice, which was later released as open source under the name OpenOffice.org 1999: MAXSTRAT Corporation, a company in Milpitas, California selling Fibre Channel storage servers. 1999: Forte, an enterprise software company specializing in integration solutions and developer of the Forte 4GL and TeamWare 1999: NetBeans, produced a modular IDE written in Java, based on a student project at Charles University in Prague March 2000: Innosoft International, Inc. a software company specializing in highly scalable MTAs (PMDF) and Directory Services. July 2000: Gridware, a software company whose products managed the distribution of computing jobs across multiple computers September 2000: Cobalt Networks, an Internet appliance manufacturer December 2000: HighGround, with a suite of Web-based management solutions 2001: LSC, Inc., an Eagan, Minnesota company that developed Storage and Archive Management File System (SAM-FS) and Quick File System QFS file systems for backup and archive March 2002: Clustra Systems June 2002: Afara Websystems, developed SPARC processor-based technology September 2002: Pirus Networks, intelligent storage services November 2002: Terraspring, infrastructure automation software June 2003: Pixo, added to the Sun Content Delivery Server August 2003: CenterRun, Inc. December 2003: Waveset Technologies, identity management January 2004 Nauticus Networks February 2004: Kealia, founded by original Sun founder Andy Bechtolsheim, developed AMD-based 64-bit servers January 2005: SevenSpace, a multi-platform managed services provider May 2005: Tarantella, Inc. (formerly known as Santa Cruz Operation (SCO)), for $25,000,000 June 2005: SeeBeyond, a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) software company for $387m June 2005: Procom Technology, Inc.'s NAS IP Assets August 2005: StorageTek February 2006: Aduva, software for Solaris and Linux patch management October 2006: Neogent April 2007: SavaJe, the SavaJe OS, a Java OS for mobile phones September 2007: Cluster File Systems, Inc. November 2007: Vaau, Enterprise Role Management and identity compliance solutions February 2008: MySQL AB, the company offering the open source database MySQL February 2008: Innotek GmbH, developer of the VirtualBox virtualization product April 2008: Montalvo Systems, x86 microprocessor startup acquired before first silicon January 2009: Q-layer, a software company with cloud computing solutions