Sun spanked for exporting gear to China

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and a news story on the Reuters Asia wire, Sun Microsystems is kinda in a pickle, having been accused by the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security of knowingly selling and exporting computing equipment to companies in Egypt and Hong Kong that were ultimately destined for the People’s Republic of China. This is clearly just uncool and dim on their part: they’re an American firm and need to abide by American export rules and regulations.

The Reuters story goes on to state that Sun is hoping for a one year suspended denial of export privilege. What’s that? you ask. Well… apparently they’d have a one year denial of export privilege, but it’d be “on hold” as long as there were no violations. Sounds like a typical big business solution, doesn’t it? Like telling a rapist “you can still go out and date, but if you rape someone, well, then you can’t date any more, okay?”

What I like about this story is that Sun states: “any monetary penalties imposed would not have a material adverse effect on its financial condition or operating results. However, “a denial of export privileges, including any revocation of the proposed suspended denial could have a material adverse effect on our business,” the company said.”

Well, yeah, I can see where it’d be a bit of a crimp in your business if you suddenly found out you couldn’t sell anything overseas for a year. I’d call that a definite nail in the coffin, wouldn’t you?

Meanwhile, my Solaris book is just about ready to ship, so I suppose I should be rooting for Sun to be even more successful, but I can’t help notice that their management strategy over the last few years has not kept them in the forefront of a business that they really invented in a lot of ways. How many companies do you know that are running their Web sites on Sun hardware?

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