There are hard times ahead for Sun Microsystems Inc, according to industry analyst David Coursey. While Sun currently appears to have reached the zenith of its power, says Coursey, it is not posing a significant threat to Microsoft, and could end up as the next Apple or Novell. According to Coursey, the two main problems at Sun are its corporate culture, and the mismanagement of its Java technology. Although Sun owns Java, Coursey believes that, from a customer perspective, Microsoft already has control of Java, and is likely to pull away from Sun and its partners. Microsoft writes better and more useful code [and] Sun is still a Unix-geek shop. There is only one way for Sun to avoid this scenario, he believes – give up on the idea of freely portable server-side Java. Client applications need to be portable, but what is really lost if server applications used vendor-specific extensions – in hardware and software – to improve performance or add features? Microsoft appears to be doing something like this in software. Why shouldn’t Sun do the same to maintain the value of its platform? Coursey believes that, as it’s hard to turn a hardware company into a software company, Sun must maintain its performance as a hardware vendor to avoid the financial free-fall Apple suffered when its hardware margins began shrinking. His full six page analysis can be found at https://www.coursey.com.