Last week I had a chance to read a very troubling article highlighting Sun's perilous financial position and its eroding market capitalization. Something we developers don't think about too often, but it looks like things are pretty critical right now:
The company's reluctance to cut jobs is commendable, especially if you are a Sun employee, but analysts don't agree with it. They are saying the cuts are not enough. At a simplistic level the company needs to cut over a billion dollars from its costs - nearly $1.5bn in fact - if it is to break even this fiscal year. In terms of headcount that isn't a cut, it's a series of major amputations. Divide the average annual employee cost into $1.5bn and you come up with numbers that could make you feel sick. (Assume a $100,000/year employee cost and that's 15,000 who have to go.)
And unfortunately the bad news arrived sooner than expected, as Sun announced it would be laying of 6,000 employees (nearly 18% of its workforce).
Considering that pretty much all of the core enhancements to Java and the JVM are done by Sun and those do not bring in any direct revenue to them, should we all be worried how Java can survive without Sun's corporate backing (or at least with a greatly reduced one)?
This is particularly worrying in light of how Java is slipping behind in terms of language features compared to its largest competitors and missteps in the RIA space.