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Sun's stock symbol changing to JAVA

August 27, 2007 @ 7:59am

In a blog post, Jonathan Schwartz announced that Sun will be changing it's symbol from SUNW to JAVA. He talks about the power of the Java brand and the nostalgic geek value of Sun's stock ticker symbol (SUNW = Stanford University Network Workstation), but ultimately JAVA won out.

In some ways, it's a meaningless move. To me it feels like taking your famous old ballpark name and selling it to a corporate sponsor. But Sun is selling the symbol to itself, or at least one of its divisions. What if you named your company after only one of your children? How would the others feel?

As Schwartz points out, Sun isn't changing the company name. They are still called Sun, but even the first commenter on his blog points out that Java is equated with slow software. I equate them with slow-to-load, frequently crashing web apps and would never use a Java editor in one of my content management systems again.

The change has more potential for bad than good. Why marginalize the rest of your workstation business?

Would Apple change its symbol to IPOD? Wouldn't that demoralize the iPhone team? Don't they also make laptops and software and a pretty well-known operating system? Of course they wouldn't.

Would AOL change its symbol to TMZ? Well, okay, so they're already halfway there with TWX, you got me on that one, but stay with me here...

Do the people at Sun read their comments? The comments aren't numbered, but I see something like a hundred comments on that blog post and maybe five that support the move -- probably from people who hope Sun will fail, cheering them along so they pick up a little speed right before they bicycle over a cliff.

Crazy.

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