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Sun Microsystems Reviews

Updated April 19, 2017
1,102 reviews

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3.6
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Sun Microsystems Co-CEO's Mark Hurd and Safra Catz
Mark Hurd and Safra Catz
27 Ratings

1,102 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • But Sun was novel in many areas such as company-wide work from home policies before it became trendy (in 212 reviews)

  • Employee friendly, great work life balance (in 124 reviews)

Cons
  • unclear how open source focus can grow a business (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Sun Review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Technology is great! Engineers are very smart!

    Cons

    Morale is very low. There is a layoff almost each quarter.

    Advice to Management

    Try to increase revenues.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "A dying company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Strategic Business Development Representative in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Strategic Business Development Representative in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Work life balance- sun supports working from home, although this is very much abused by employees. We called it the "Don't work from home" program.

    Cons

    Sun has been performing poorly for seven plus years. Management has continued to under perform. I found that most of the talent has left Sun and the people that are left, simply aren't motivated. Most people are there to collect a paycheck.

    Advice to Management

    Hire someone from the outside to take sun over and try to change things.


  3. "Very poor management and strategy. Giving everything away for free? Do you know how to make money?"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director, Marketing in Broomfield, CO
    Current Employee - Director, Marketing in Broomfield, CO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    None, too political, promoting those who are incompetent only. Senior management are focused on the wrong issues. The culture has no sense of urgency. Complacency amongst the troops abounds. The wrong people are being laid off. Senior management changes constantly with little or no continuity

    Cons

    Very poor management, lack of focus, terribly organized. Everyone jokes about the matrix and living in the matrix. There is a real lack of focus on accountability. Everything is run very politically

    Advice to Management

    Why don't they ask employees to tell them the truth about why the stock won't EVER go up? Wall Street laughs about how poorly run the company is and will continue to be in the future as long as it is run by Jonathan Schwartz


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Excellent tech, incompetent management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    It has a history as a tech company with lots of smart people, and to a large extent technical people are respected. They've created some excellent things.

    Cons

    Management is too clueless, especially about handling senior technical employees. Sun prides itself on having a non-management career path, but doing an exceptional job is not sufficient: you have to play politics to get promoted.

    Advice to Management

    You need to fire some people -- not workers, but your cronies in middle management. You often say things like your employees are your greatest asset but your actions belie the words. Consider the employees at the Nashua NH site -- why have all their jobs been moved to Burlington MA (and working from home disallowed)? To make them quit, instead of having to lay them off (which would mean a severance package).


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Would be great, if only..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Marketing Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Marketing Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    1) You're an engineer who wants to work on cutting edge technology with virtually no limitations based on what will sell or be attractive to customers. 2) You want to work from a remote location, have little or no oversight, and spend all day on conference calls and Email 3) You're masochistic and will work yourself to death, banging your head against a brick wall to get things done, trying to raise the stock price, while going nowhere professionally and being told you're not doing enough

    Cons

    Promotions, opportunities, rewards are based on politics and go to the leader's inner circle. Completely. Promotions are also offered when a resignation is tendered, in the form of a counteroffer. There are constant reorganizations -- everyone/thing is swept out when new management comes in. Most managers have no management or people skills, nor are they judged/rewarded based on their management abilities/success. There are no internal transfer opportunities as all replacement hires/new hires must be new college grads. The stock has been stagnant for 7 years. Same problems then and the people in a position to change things are the ones maintaining the status quo in an effort to protect their little empires.

    Advice to Management

    Realize -- and admit -- there is no magic wand or silver bullet -- only brilliant execution for an extended period of time will raise the stock price. Clean out middle management ranks -- replace with real managers and people with experience. Stop reorging as the answer to all problems. Don't rotate 180 degrees every time something doesn't go well. Try making incremental changes instead of complete flips. Hold people accountable. Find creative programs to generate/implement suggestions at staff level for improvements -- employees are trying to help, but are inhibited by management. Don't rehire the losers you laid off 2 months ago at a higher grade level and salary -- it doesn't save money, and it's a morale killer for those who stay and pick up their work when they leave. Please, please give employees productivity tools/systems that work, even if some of the IP isn't owned/developed by Sun.


  7. "Learn how to run your company and show respect for people that work for you."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Materials Coordinator in Louisville, CO
    Former Employee - Materials Coordinator in Louisville, CO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexable work schedule, my co-workers made my job a lot easier, we worked well together. Communication was always there, but not with management.

    Cons

    Lack of communication, lack of leadership company wide, management does not respect the people that work for them

    Advice to Management

    Start communicating better with the people that work for them, start treating people better that work for them, show respect.


  8. "Sun == Welfare provider for the Silicon Valley"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Staff Software Engineer in Santa Clara, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Staff Software Engineer in Santa Clara, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexibility for personal life with work schedule and time off including work from home.

    Cons

    Everybody works from home. Nobody in the office and there is no synergy for working. Too many organizations are spread out with managers in completely different geos. There is no clear plan on how to make money. The senior management do not have a clue about software and are always using the same set of incompetent people to solve new problems. There is no accountability for managers at the directory / VP level.

    Advice to Management

    Reduce work from home. Get fresh talent. Dump no profitable software units. Remove management that does not deliver or is not successful. Get a plan for how to make money from software and communicate it to everyone. Most of all don't give away the software farm for free. It's ok to charge money for software that people want. The key is finding out what people want and that takes marketing which seems to always get laid off along with testing /support.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Listen to the doctor - avoid exposure to the Sun"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Strategic Marketing Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Strategic Marketing Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    If you're someone who is looking for a place to hide out, Sun may suit your needs. If you think the way to get ahead is by playing politics, this is the place. If you think that benefits, affinity groups, and extra-curricular programs are more important than working with a competent and focused team on a well-directed commerically feasible project, come on down! If you believe that giving away technology for free for the betterment of some upstart company in India, Russia, China or other country is more important than protecting your paying customers and investors best interests, the strategy and vision will certainly please you.

    Cons

    Sun's management was recently listed as the #1 worst in America. Need I say more? Sun has been on a road to oblivion since the burst of the high tech bubble in 2000. The current mgmt team is largely inexperienced but very self-confident - even bordering on cocky. If you want to be on a team that works hard and gets something useful done, Sun may be a huge disappointment. Projects are cancelled and redirected with abandon. If you like any kind of stability in your company, Sun is definitely not for you. They have been - and will continue to be - faced with RIF after RIF after RIF. Many of the previous "believers" have thrown in the towel and are looking for a new job.

    Advice to Management

    Resign. Give over 30,000 employess, 100,000's of customers, and an equally large number of investors a new chance. There is no hope under the current senior management. This has been proven with certainty over the past 7-8 years.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "am I working for a non profit organization or a no profit organization?"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Member of Technical Staff IV in Santa Clara, CA
    Current Employee - Member of Technical Staff IV in Santa Clara, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    microprocessor design house which is not x86

    Cons

    management that does not know how to make money

    Advice to Management

    Learn how to market Sun products effectively
    Start realizing this is sun.com not sun.org


  11. Helpful (2)

    "Prospective employees beware"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Marketing Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Marketing Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    You get a flexible work environment which allows you to work almost anywhere in the world. This gives you the option to live in areas that are affordable and/or are in line with your salary.

    Cons

    Serious problem in upper management. There is a major disconnect between individual contributors (who seem to bear the lion's share of the work) and upper management. There is no trust and if you voice areas of improvements, you are deemed a "negative person" which means you're in-line for the next RIF.

    Advice to Management

    Cut the crap, be honest. Stop the nepotism.


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