Sun Revamps Sales as IBM Buyout Looms

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-04-03 Email Print this article Print

Speculation is running high that a deal for IBM to buy Sun Microsystems is eminent. One of the clues: A realignment of Sun’s sales organization that makes it look more like IBM’s channel operations. In the new scheme, channel partners take greater precedence.

Sun Microsystems has finalized significant changes to its sales and service structures, resulting in a more centrally structured chain of command—a significant move away from the distributed regional model it has used for years.

Employees were informed of the changes through an internal memo issued April 2.

Under the new plan, Sun's top salespeople will focus exclusively on the company's 300 top customers—primarily in the telecommunications, government, financial services, education, health care and high-performance computing sectors. Channel salespeople ostensibly will handle the rest, amounting to about 80 percent of Sun's customers.

The reorganization is tied directly into the March 30 announcement that Sun is laying off another 1,500 employees, effective immediately. Many of those who will lose their jobs are in the the sales force and professional service groups.

An industry insider who asked not to be identified told eWEEK that the structure changes may have been initiated as a way to help smooth the way for a rumored $6 billion acquisition by IBM, since the new Sun sales organization will look very similar to IBM's.

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