This timeline documents the history of Sun Microsystems from its founding through its death at the hands of Oracle.

Timeline of Sun Microsystems History

1982 - Andy Bechtolsheim, Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy, and Bill Joy found Sun Microsystems. Their initial product is a workstation running BSD Unix. Scott McNealy takes the role of CEO, one of the first times a business major would lead the start up an independent computer company.

1984 - Sun introduced the NFS network file system offering free commercial licenses leading to the technology’s widespread adoption.

1986 - A version of the NFS system for IBM compatible personal computers is offered and Sun makes its initial stock public offering and begins trading under the symbol SUNW.

1987 - Sun enters into a software partnership with ATT and becomes the leading supplier of workstations.

1988 - Sun hits one billion dollars in revenue which was notable due to Sun’s direct to consumer sales model.

1991 - Sun grabs a 63% share of the high performance RISC processor market and introduces the second version of its Solaris operating system.

1992 - Sun offers the first desktop computer with multiple processors.

1993 - Sun joins the fortune 500.

1994 - Sun’s website goes online and Sun lands an exclusive contract to provide computers to the 1994 world cup.

1995 - Java, a hardware independent software architecture is introduced by Sun and Sun begins offering free trial software for download on their website. Sun also offers online tech support.

1996 - Java, like NFS is licensed by every major hardware and software manufacturer.

1997 - Sun begins selling larger than mainframe enterprise servers capitalizing on the internet boom.

1999 - Sun begins offering free office productivity software and offers a micro version of the Java platform for embedded systems like cell phones.

2001 - Sun produces N1, a distributed computing platform based on sharing processor intensive tasks over a network.

2002 - Sun is really hurting from the bust, they begin offering workstations with off the shelf AMD processors in addition to their own proprietary RISC architectures.

2004 - Sun offers Solaris 10, which comes with more desktop friendly features than previous editions of Solaris, and Java is used on the Mars Rover.

2005 - Sun begins offering the source code to their most of their Solaris software under a free license for use in other projects.

2006 - Sun offers grid computing over the internet for $1 per cpu hour and introduces AMD chips into its enterprise servers. Sun also begins selling entire data centers in twenty foot shipping containers. Scott McNealy steps down as CEO to become chairman.

January 27, 2010 - Sun Microsystem dies at the hand of Oracle. Oracle integrates parts of Sun Microsystems carcass into itself. Open Source projects Sun had long provided support to including Open Office, Open Solaris, and others experience turmoil and forks escaping from Oracle's clutches. Libre Office is born of Open Office. MariaDB is born of MySQL. OpenIndiana is born of Open Solaris.


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