Sun Microsystems workers hope to keep jobs

April 20, 2009 6:26:34 PM PDT
The face of Silicon Valley is changing dramatically. Two massive high-tech companies will become one. Oracle, based in Redwood Shores, is buying Sun Microsystems of Santa Clara.

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Sun Microsystems is one Silicon Valley company that has already seen its share of layoffs. In November, Sun announced between 5,000 and 6,000 layoffs. Now, employees there hope the new merger does not mean they will be part of the next round of cuts.

The employees are optimistic and hopeful they will get to keep their jobs. That is the current outlook among computer engineers at Sun Microsystems's Santa Clara headquarters.

"When it happens, it will happen. Whatever happens, we'll get through it as individuals and a company. And, we're in for a big ride," said Sun Microsystems employee John McCurry.

The big ride will follow an enormous $7.4 billion acquisition that now puts software giant Oracle into the server and hardware business. Sun is number four in that sector.

While industry experts predict tech jobs will likely be safe, there could be layoffs on the administrative side. But, the sale is viewed as a plus for Silicon Valley.

"You've got a classical software company and a classical hardware company getting together. Sun was trying to morph itself to be more software oriented. So, I see this as being a pretty neat evolution of the two companies moving together," said Professor Kevin Walsh at the Santa Clara University School of Business.

At Sun, Monday's news of a deal came as no surprise. Many computer engineers had been nervous about a deal that was in the works, but recently fell through with another tech giant, IBM.

"Compared to IBM, it's a better thing in general because of the uniqueness we bring," said Sun employee Harsah Sattiraju.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said its business customers will benefit most.

"With the acquisition of Sun, Oracle is now able to make all the pieces of the technology stack, fit together and work well," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

And, as long as the deal means they still get a paycheck, most Sun employees do not mind who is writing it.

"Yeah, we also have Johnathan Schwartz and in the past we had Scott McLealy. Your CEO is your CEO," said Sun employee Joe Felchlin.

Sun's board of directors unanimously approved the deal, but it still needs approval from stockholders and federal regulators. Some experts say this deal is much less likely to cause anti-trust concerns than the previous deal Sun had in the works with IBM, because of the overlap in product between those two companies.

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