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By | Ashlee Vance 23rd August 2007 16:18

Sun boots workstation roots in favor of JAVA ticker

So long SUNW

In a rather odd marketing ploy, Sun Microsystems will change its ticker symbol from SUNW to JAVA.

The ticker switch takes hold next Monday on the NASDAQ exchange. We're not sure what the flip gives Sun other than a constant reminder that it's the company behind Java. Sun already drives that point home pretty well - every chance it gets.

"Brands, like employees, aren't expenses, they're investments," Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz wrote on his blog. "Measuring their value is more art than science. But there's no doubt in my mind more people know Java than Sun Microsystems. There's similarly no doubt they know Java more than nearly any other brand on the internet."

Of course, with the SUNW ditch, Sun is also turning its back on the company's history. SUNW stands for the Stanford University Network Workstation - the first Sun product built by co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim back in the early 1980s.

"SUNW represents the past, and its not without a nostalgic nod that we've decided to look ahead," Schwartz wrote.

Having a catchy ticker symbol can be rewarding under the right circumstances. Many of you, for example, will recall VA Linux's IPO back in 1999. Trading under LNUX, VA's shares set a record, rising 733 per cent on the first day of trading to close at $250 per share. Pundits speculated that some rabid, uninformed investors wanted to invest in this Linux thing and assumed that VA must own Linux because of its symbol.

After some corporate maneuvering, SourceForge now trades under LNUX at about $3.50 per share. Let's all remember the good old days. ®

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