It has been awhile since I was familiar with Sun Microsystem products on a daily and developmental basis. These comments reflect what I believe Sun should do now and this same opinion has stayed with me since 2003 and earlier when I was a Sun employee.
Sun has had excellent hardware as well as as solid operating systems (SunOS & Solaris) through the years. They played a large role to pioneer the networking of desktops in a corporate environment. In the large telecommunications company I worked for prior to Sun this allowed a large improvement over the mainframe model of software development for telephone communication systems environment.
Corporations gained a huge benefit in their use of Sun products and services.
Great for corporations - what about home, school, very small businesses?
What I thought then as well as now is that Sun should attempt to gain access to the desktop world - the home, the school, the small to very small business...a smaller environment desktop world. No doubt it would be a slow evolving process and probably more difficult now than in the past with the growth of various linux desktops that have been gaining in favor. Many hardware vendors are placing more emphasis on drivers for linux operating systems thus making using linux much easier to accept and use for smaller environment computing needs.
Certainly the competition there is Microsoft - but as I see the world Microsoft has taken a huge hit with the impact of Vista with users and businesses being both unhappy or reluctant to place trust in Vista. Frankly, some business legacy products and applications come with an implied plea to stay with XP.
The obligatory 'not to mention the improved security of a unix/linux based Operating System' inserted here.
One reason given to me when I voiced this opinion while working at Sun was that it would cost too much money to support individual users. (now the only person that gave me that opinion was someone of low influence).
Again though, it would be an evolving process and could be ramped up if successful.
When one imagines the number of accessories and peripherals that attach to the home PC and small business environment it would be a huge number of users. This will change even more should Wall Street diminish in terms of employees and the number of data centers (consolidation of banks for example) while Main Street grows. Another topic...
It sure would be hard now though with the various linux varieties rapidly expanding in use and popularity. Although Sun hardware is the best in my opinion - the Intel and AMD platforms can be just as good if one spends the money for the better quality motherboards and other hardware.
So JAVA, OpenOffice, SQL, Solaris - lots of software is there and hardware, excellent hardware, is available for purchase. Maybe it is simply a question of marketing to a potentially large new customer base.