Under the leadership of one of its founders, Scott McNealey, the company proposes that “The network is the computer.” Sun’s Java programming language, offered for use as a cross-platform industry standard, has been widely adopted for applications that run across the Internet.
Incorporated in 1982 with only four employees, Sun Microsystems within several years had captured much of the market for engineering workstations. Its UNIX-based operating system (currently called Solaris ) exploited the client/server model of computing and, for several years, Sun’s advocacy of this model seemed to threaten IBM and its centralized mainframes. (In the end, IBM adopted the model itself while continuing to its old model for legacy programs.) As business began to recognize the possibilities of the Internet and the World Wide Web, Sun’s workstation became recast as a Web server (often running Apache ) and Sun’s revenues grew as Web sites grew. By 2002, still committed to an Internet that was growing at a slower pace, Sun had diversified into data storage products, continued to develop products based on Java, and had built partnerships with AOL and others centered around the promise of e-business and Web services .
Sun is traded on the Nasdaq under SUNW.