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Sun May Surprise Its Critics

Dec 09, 2008, 14:05 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Shread)

"Much of the coverage has focused on Sun's $1.7 billion quarterly "loss" and plans to cut 15 percent to 18 percent of its workforce as evidence that the company is in peril. One Associated Press story, for example, said the economic downturn was pushing Sun "to the brink of extinction."

"The truth is that Sun has much more time than the urgent tone of much of the coverage would have you believe, and has no need for a white knight or a federal bailout. The company's dramatic September-quarter loss was largely a non-cash write-down -- the company's actual cash levels dropped $242 million in the quarter. Not pretty, but with about $2 billion more in cash and liquid investments than debt, the company could survive for a couple of years at its current cash burn rate. There are blue chip companies that would kill to be in that position right now.

"But with its recently announced layoffs, the company will do much better than that. In fact, the layoffs seem calculated to get the company back to break-even, ensuring frustration for years to come for those looking for a Sun end game."

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