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Thursday, August 23, 2021

Seeking to underline just how much Sun Microsystems is hitching its future to the Java programming language, the company is changing its Nasdaq ticker symbol from SUNW to JAVA.

After this change goes into effect on Monday, I’m waiting to read the first howls of dismay from clueless shoot-from-the-hip investors, who’ll see the new four-letter mark, snap up shares, then realize they weren’t buying into some sort of hi-tech coffee company…

This may seem to be a trivial move, confined to the financial pages. But Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz attests to the deeper significance:

SUNW certainly has some nostalgic value - it stands for “Stanford University Network Workstation,” and heralds back to Sun’s cherished roots (in academia). Granted, lots of folks on Wall Street know SUNW, given its status as among the most highly traded stocks in the world (the SUNW symbol shows up daily in the listings of most highly traded securities).

But SUNW represents the past, and its not without a nostalgic nod that we’ve decided to look ahead.

JAVA is a technology whose value is near infinite to the internet, and a brand that’s inseparably a part of Sun (and our profitability). And so next week, we’re going to embrace that reality by changing our trading symbol, from SUNW to JAVA. This is a big change for us, capitalizing on the extraordinary affinity our teams have invested to build, introducing Sun to new investors, developers and consumers. Most know Java, few know Sun - we can bring the two one step closer.

Schwartz says the rebranding will be limited to the Nasdaq scroll, but from the way he’s talking, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the whole company someday change its name to “Java Inc.” or similar.

Incidentally, Sun’s far from the first company to use its stock exchange symbol as a promotional tool. As I said before:

If anything, these cutesy letter combinations are useful strictly at the time when a company goes public: Because that’s a prime marketing opportunity, the symbol should fall in line with all the other promotional hype to mark the event. But after that blows over, who cares? It’s purely a shorthand marking for use on the big board. They might as well use numbers.

That said, Sun’s move to JAVA is a reflection of a doubling-down on a proprietary technology that will make or break the company moving forward. So in that sense, this works effectively as a marketing ploy, because it generates a buzz.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 08/23/2007 03:50:37 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Tech, Business | Permalink |

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