Skip to main content

Sun May Shed Light on Oracle's Future

Investors will be checking Sun's third-quarter results for a glimpse into the company's long-term roadmap.

Updated from 2:35 p.m. EDT

With the ink barely dry on






Sun Microsystems


, investors will be checking Sun's third-quarter results for a glimpse into the company's long-term roadmap.

Sun will release its third-quarter results after market close Tuesday as the troubled tech firm begins the next chapter in its eventful history.

Sun had shopped itself all around Silicon Valley before its recent

$7.4 billion purchase

by Oracle, and there is plenty of interest in the future of its key technologies.

"There are a few obvious tactical reasons for Oracle's pursuit and Sun's enthusiastic acquiescence -- simply put, Oracle wanted to acquire Java and Solaris," wrote Charles King, an analyst at technology research firm Pund-IT, in a recent note. "The company considers Sun's Solaris operating system as the leading platform for the Oracle database and sees opportunities in optimizing its database solutions for some of Solaris' special, high-end features."

Oracle's focus on Sun's Java technology is probably more strategic, according to King, who says that the database giant is keen to tap into the "enormous" potential of Sun's installed base and its partner ecosystem.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based firm is also gaining a significant presence in the server market through its acquisition of Sun, most notably in the booming market for blade servers.

Oracle has promised to grow Sun's hardware business after the deal closes during the summer, and has said that investments made by Sun customers will be protected.

Sun is nonetheless expected to post a widening third-quarter loss of 19 cents and falling revenue of $2.86 billion. In the same period last year, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based firm reported a loss of 4 cents a share, although this included a 4 cent charge related to Sun's acquisition of


. The company's revenue came in at $3.27 billion during the year-ago quarter.

The tough economy has been just one of the major challenges facing Sun in the last few months.

A number of companies, including



, have been looking to

exploit the uncertainty

that has surrounded the firm and woo Sun customers onto their own technology. Even one-time suitor



has been turning the knife, and recently issued a statement saying that more than 100 companies worldwide chose IBM servers over Sun and



during the first quarter of this year.

Once a darling of the era, Sun has earned a reputation for under-performing and has been dogged with execution issues and losses in the last few years. Despite these problems, M&A talk has pushed the company's stock upwards, and Sun's shares have risen more than 100% this year.

Sun's stock, however, is trading around $9.15, well below its 52-week high of $16.37.