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Clouds gather over Sun finances

Microscope contributor

Sun Microsystems kept shtum last night amidst the filing of fiscal third quarter results, perhaps the lack of profits gave the company little to shout about.

Or maybe it hoped to keep the $201m (£137m) loss for the three months ended 29 March out of earshot of Oracle boss Larry Ellison, who will soon be overseeing both organisations from the cockpit of his personal fighter jet.

Revenues that plunged nearly 20% year-on-year to $2.61bn - down 18.8% sequentially - would also have added to a gloomy conference call with analysts, so Sun simply said it did not plan to hold one and provided no colour in the form of statements from senior execs.

In terms of cold hard facts, the company grew billings nearly 4% year-on-year in combined key growth areas.

These included a 28% rise in Total Software billings, Open Storage went up 63% as Solaris-based SPARC CMT Servers increased 3%, all of which accounted for 40% of overall billings in the period. 

In November, Sun revealed it would cut the global workforce by up to 6,000 roles this year and has already let staff go in January and more recently.

In the quarter R&D and sales, general and administrative expenses fell 15%. The vendor generated $178m in cash.

Fiscally, this continues to be an annus horriblis for Sun, following a dire Q1 and Q2, with losses for the nine months standing at a staggering $1.88bn, albeit $1.44 of that was a non-cash charge to write down goodwill.

Whether senior management at Sun can find their collective voice again in the next quarter will depend on the market and the success of the proposed acquisition by Oracle.

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