java.jpegThere’s subliminal advertising, and then there’s what Sun has decided to do: replace the traditional SUNW with which it is traded on stock exchanges like NASDAQ with the more simple, direct JAVA. As crass as it might sound, it’s better than trying to come up with another pop-up ad, and it says a lot about Sun’s future direction.

As CEO Jonathan Schwartz notes on his blog today, “the number of people who know Java swamps the number of people who know Sun.” That calls into question the logic of why the company would need to build awareness around the technology even more, but this isn’t really about advertising. This is a statement of purpose from a company which has its arms and legs in hardware, software, storage and components. Schwartz insists that buliding workstations will continue to be a big part of his business, and I believe him, but it’s become clear that software will drive Sun’s strategy (and its hardware sales) much more than the other way around.

This has been evident for a long time, of course, and most IT managers probably wouldn’t even notice the exchange symbol change, but it implies Sun’s management is more centred and focused than it has been in recent years. It also reminds us, despite the recent moves to open source Java, that Sun isn’t prepared to give up its leadership of the technology anytime soon.



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