Sun Microsystems

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joined the huddled masses of technology peddlers Friday, posting a quarterly earnings report that reflected a marked rebound from a desperate fall quarter. The results also showed a seasonally strong end of the year but a huge drop-off from the previous year.

The server maker announced results for its second quarter of 2002 before the opening bell Friday, tallying $3.1 billion in revenue and a 13-cents-a-share loss, according to generally accepted accounting principles. Excluding investment losses and a $511 million restructuring charge, Sun had a pro forma loss of 3 cents a share. That narrowly beat Wall Street estimates of $3.08 billion in revenue and a pro forma loss of 4 cents a share, as reported by

Business in the fall quarter was disrupted by the Sept. 11 attacks and the already weakened economy, and technology vendors may have benefited from the return of delayed orders as the year closed. Sun echoed what investors have heard from





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, which all scored some sequential revenue growth to pull them out of their one-quarter tailspins.

The rebound in business still left Sun with a 39% decline from its second quarter of 2001's $5.1 billion in revenue and a huge drop from its 16-cents-a-share profit in the year-ago quarter. Wall Street is hoping that the first quarter of fiscal 2002, with revenue of $2.86 billion and a pro forma loss of 5 cents per share, will prove to be the bottom for Sun. The server giant saw two sequential quarterly revenue declines of more than 20% in the past year and has said it doesn't expect to regain profitability until the June quarter. In 2001, the trend of Internet-obsessed customers snapping up Sun products reversed as failed or bankrupt companies put their servers back into the market. Sun's stock has fallen 52% since the beginning of 2001.

Sun supplier



prereported a December quarter earnings disappointment on Jan. 9 but said orders had picked up in the past few weeks.