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Sun firm on June profit, new storage push

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CIOL Bureau
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SAN FRANCISCO: Network computer maker Sun Microsystems Inc. chief executive

Scott McNealy on Tuesday stood by a commitment to return to profit by mid-year

and said Sun was about to announce new storage systems.

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"We are not changing our guidance. We are targeting to go profitable

again in the June quarter," he told an investment conference hosted by

Goldman Sachs in La Quinta, California.

Sun gave the same outlook on Jan. 18, when it reported a loss in its fiscal

second quarter, ended in December. Its fiscal year ends in June. "The good

thing about Sun is we took advantage of the bubble," McNealy said, adding

that Sun had built up its brand name and a $6 billion cash stockpile over the

last few years. A large part of Sun's customer base evaporated with the dot-com

downturn.

But McNealy said he could not predict Sun's gross profit margin, which is

revenues minus cost of goods, as a percentage of sales. "Don't bother

asking. I wish I knew. It's really hard," McNealy added.

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Sun shares ended Tuesday trading down 25 cents, or 2.4 per cent, at $10.15 on

the Nasdaq. Sun, which opens an analyst conference in San Francisco on

Wednesday, will introduce a gamut of new data storage products, McNealy said.

The company known for computers which run corporate networks and the Internet

has been developing a storage strategy for the last couple of years and last

year struck an alliance with Hitachi Data Systems.

"Tomorrow is the next big broadside to those out there in the storage

business who think they can provide better storage for the Sun environment than

us," said McNealy. He said Sun systems based on Hitachi hardware had been

winning business usually taken by storage heavyweight EMC Corp.

EMC spokesman Greg Eden said Sun had shifted storage strategies a number of

times. "Sun has opted for the 'promise rather than deliver' approach to

storage before," he commented by e-mail.

(C) Reuters Limited.

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