NYT reports unconfirmed news that Sun has terminated Rock chip efforts

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In terms of harbingers of Sun’s hardware future as part of the Oracle empire, this does not bode well. A post on Joe Landman’s blog (and accompanying email pointer to nudge me out of my post-vacation lethargy) alerted us to a blog post by Ashlee Vance at the NYT on Sun’s decision to terminate development of the five year old Rock chip project

Sun logoSun Microsystems may have dropped a bit of weight by the time Oracle officially acquires the company. According to two people briefed on Sun’s plans, the company has canceled its Rock chip project, putting an end to one of its biggest revitalization bets.

According to Vance the company had no official comment, and the “two people” spoke on conditions of anonymity.

This marks the second high-end chip in a row that Sun has canceled before its release. These types of products cost billions of dollars to produce, and Sun now has about a 10-year track record of investing in game-changing chips that failed to materialize.

Sun has been relying on chips from Fujitsu for its larger servers while it waited for the Rock development to be finished. Now it is likely to just continue using Fujitsu chips, which should lower research and development costs. That’s probably good news for Oracle, which is in the process of acquiring Sun.