SUNW becomes JAVA

August 26, 2007

Sun is changing its ticker symbol from SUNW to JAVA, as announced in Sun’s CEO Jonathan Schwartz’s Weblog on Thursday 23rd August. There has been a lot of mixed feedback. Most techies and engineers inside and outside Sun are criticizing the decision, as they see it narrowing Sun to Java technology. However, Wall Street did not seem to care much.

The stock went up 1.62%, while the Nasdaq index recovered 1.38% so one can possibly assume the market was insensitive to the change. While the volume was double the average, so was the market's, so again no change.

This seems to be a change purely driven by brand awarenes. As Schwart's puts it in his blog:

What's that distribution and awareness worth to us? It's hard to say - brands, like employees, aren't expenses, they're investments. Measuring their value is more art than science. But there's no doubt in my mind more people know Java than Sun Microsystems. There's similarly no doubt they know Java more than nearly any other brand on the internet.

It strikes me that as much as this change might help Sun's marketing strategy, it will likely damage its ability to hire and retain smart engineers. Time will tell.

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