Sun Microsystems
3.4 of 5 988 reviews
www.sun.com Santa Clara, CA 5000+ Employees

Sun Microsystems Reviews

Updated Apr 14, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.4 988 reviews

                             

57% Approve of the CEO

Sun Microsystems CEO (Oracle) Lawrence J. Ellison

Lawrence J. Ellison

(69 ratings)

60% of employees recommend this company to a friend
988 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Flexible working conditions, ability to work from home"
    in 210 reviews
  • "Work life balance, company vision ahead of its time, opportunities to learn and contribute"
    in 114 reviews
Cons:
  • "Inexperienced senior management after Scott McNealy was no longer at the reins"
    in 75 reviews
  • "Upper management didn't know how to monetize"
    in 49 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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  • Disapproves of CEO

1 person found this helpful  

Probably the most amazing company I worked for

Principal Engineer (Former Employee)
Camberley, England

I worked at Sun Microsystems full-time for more than 10 years

ProsAmazing minds, cutting edge technology, ability and opportunities to learn. Quality training at least in the earlier years before the cutbacks kicked in.

I had the great fortune to work for Sun whilst it was still in its ascendency and experienced an amazing place to be an engineer. So many clever people that were happy to help out, to share their knowledge and lead by example.
Sun engineers strived to be the best, to solve problems and to provide fixes, in essence to do the right thing by the customer.

There were also opportunities to travel. Sun had annual tech training for their entire engineering and support organisation. My first experience of this was Denver, followed by San Francisco and later I got to present to my peers in Las Vegas. Such incredible times, such amazing memories.
Then there was the 2000 kick off event in Disneyland, Paris. Clearly Sun were doing very well at this point.

Oh course in the early years there were beer busts every month, a professional but relaxed atmosphere and such a vibe as the company was growing so fast.
Processes were there and for the most part made sense but management were open to feedback from engineers and often sought them out to solve problems.

As a techie it was such a cool place to learn, grow and become a better engineer.

ConsWhen the cuts really kicked in, the culture changed. Management dictated policy, processes and direction and the engineers began to be treated like children.
Then there were the annual reductions in force (layoffs) that sapped morale and got everyone nervous.
Training later suffered as the quality trainers we're let go and contractors were brought in, when you could get it (this was after years of no pay rises, so training was offered as alternatives until that got too expensive).

Did I mention lack of pay rises?

After a few years management knew they couldn't change anything, so didn't bother. Annual reviews became pointless, depressing and futile. There were quotas on how many top grades could be given out each year, so even if you'd over performed in the current year, if you'd had a grade 1 review the previous year, tough ... you'd get a lesser grade this year.
This encouraged everyone to do the bare minimum and as such quality suffered.

Advice to Senior ManagementAh we'll it's all a bit too late now.

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Great Company untile the spreadsheet jockies moved in

Sales Manager (Former Employee)
London, England

I worked at Sun Microsystems full-time for more than 8 years

ProsPassionate product people, good reputation, majority of people strive to do the right thing for the customer, some great people and true friends can be made

ConsManagers of spreadsheets not people, personal careers get more attention than revenue, head office mentality, if you are not there then you don't count. Bureaucracy is created that fulfils job roles, justifies peoples existience and strangled growth and the can do attitutude the company had when Scott McNealy was there

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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A good experience but frustrating at times due to strange decisions from senior management

Manufacturing Manager (Former Employee)
Edinburgh, Scotland

I worked at Sun Microsystems full-time for more than 8 years

ProsGood people, good facility and good technology

ConsCareer progression was limited, salary could have been higher.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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It was great, it is a pity it is over!

Marketing Manager (Current Employee)
City of London, England

I have been working at Sun Microsystems

ProsVery technology driven and innovative
Innovation and R&D comes first
People are individuals, not an army
A lot of room for creativity and ideas generation, implementation

ConsPoor operational alignment has made the company less profitable
Flexible working hours have also impacted the overall success of the business
As a result there is no more Sun Microsystems

Advice to Senior ManagementIf you get together to create another Sun, I am willing to join!

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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The Sun is setting

Programmer Manager (Former Employee)
Linlithgow, Scotland

I worked at Sun Microsystems

Pros- Some great people to work with.
- Good, competitive salaries.
- Invest in their employees, good training oppurtunities.

Cons- Too many Re-orgs, hinders productivity.
- Fear culture, created by adopting employee rating practices similar to that of GE.
- Politics between BU's.
- Useless middle management.

Advice to Senior ManagementPick a direction and stick to it for a while, let everyone settle in and complete projects before deciding on another re-org.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Once great .....

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Sun Microsystems

ProsCompany is now imploding on itself
Most Senior Management have completely disappeared
Middle Management still trying to do their best
Superb work/life balance
Great colleagues

ConsThe sadness that a once great company is soon to be no more
The workload is getting heavier
Job cuts being made in the wrong area and now affecting customer satisfaction

Advice to Senior ManagementAt least make the effort to be visible....
Hopefully the good ones will make the transition and the bad ones recognised and let go

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Great shame to see a once proud company get taken over

Support Services Manager (Current Employee)

I have been working at Sun Microsystems

ProsStill an open culture, candid views are expressed and not squashed.
Loose, some might say lax, day to day management of staff in the Field - you are essentially your own boss.
Good benefits, even though salaries are lagging.
Still proud to work for such an innovative company

ConsReputation has taken such a knock in the market place.
Uncertainty as to what will happen once assimilated into Oracle.
Morale has taken endless battering over the years with layoffs and poor performance - no longer the same Fun@Sun.
Poor senior management.

Advice to Senior ManagementThey'll be too busy looking after their own skins post acquisition.

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Great people, great products, just too expensive for people to buy and lack of strategy from upper level management

Program Manager (Current Employee)
Linlithgow, Scotland

I have been working at Sun Microsystems

ProsThe salary
The people are mostly great
The products are world class, but too expensive and things that customers don't value

ConsThe senior leadership lack of strategy
They don't know what customers value
Wrong location for design
Opex is running too high

Advice to Senior ManagementHand over to someone else who knows what they are doing, move design to asia and close all USA operations to a minimum.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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tough environment

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Sun Microsystems

ProsSun's still a very competitve environment in terms of knowledge transfer regarding modern IT trends. The people at Sun are

ConsWorking for a company with a steady productivity increasy without an equivalent growth makes life hard

Advice to Senior ManagementPlease bear in mind, that every employees is a precious and intelligent individual, and not a dumb resource

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Imagine: Wiley Coyote pulling of his stunts while carrying Margaret Thatcher on his back all the time

Software Engineer (Former Employee)
Farnborough, Hampshire, South East England, England

I worked at Sun Microsystems

ProsHighly technical environment, intelligent coworkers, passion for innovation and exploration, pioneering technology, great quality standards, competitive and challenging market. Sun has been fighting an uphill battle for so long that every employee of more than a few years has been instilled with a strong sense of "never give up", "we can do it better [ than the competition ]", "we can go the extra mile".

ConsLine and Middle management focuses very strongly on "how to work" vs. "what to work on" in order to justify their own existance. The work in many areas is therefore decidedly non-agile, with many reporting/approval processes that can give a strong feeling of being disempowered.

Advice to Senior ManagementEradicate a few levels of middle management. Having to write reports for three different managers plus the line manager without ever being given a "downward feed" on how good/useful/complete that reporting is nor what it is actually being required, while at the same time being told by the line manager that your own performance depends on the goodwill of these report-only managers (and their feedback cannot be shared with you as it's confidential) is a sure way of paralyzing the workforce. You can literally work your socks off and get great feedback from customers, but fail to give credit to all the managers involved and your performance review hits rock bottom.
Middle mgmt. has become a cronyism playground. More fairness and less favouritism, less reporting and more empowerment to the worker bee could release quite some energies there ... energies now spent on appeasing/pleasing middle management instead of creating revenue for the company.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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