Tuesday, October 9, 2001

Sun Micro and its
vendors cloud a secret

A company whose CEO once answered reporters' questions about consumer privacy issues by saying "get over it" is successfully keeping secret the name of the headlining performer at its employee reward party in the islands.

The January 1999 comment by Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy caused a mini-swarm of controversy as he called privacy issues "a red herring," adding, "you have zero privacy anyway."

During Sun's past employee-reward journeys to the islands, the company has hired top-named performers, such as Elton John; but was none too happy when the Star-Bulletin let the cat out of the bag.

As reported last week, local artists such as Kapena were hired for Sunday's soiree at a closed-to-the-public Restaurant Row. Sonya Mendez, whose band Revolucion was a local headliner in the '80s, also performed.

But the name of Sun's big headliner was tantamount to national security information -- and was said to have been assigned a code name.

"I'm asking people (Sun's vendors) who I've known for 30 years, and they're not going to tell me," a local entertainment industry insider said. "I don't blame them. They've got businesses to run, and they've signed contracts."

The big show could be at the Hawaii Convention Center, which Sun has had booked for last night and tonight.

Rumors of who might perform there have named Blues Traveler, but those are unconfirmed.

What's the big deal about this secret?

The element of surprise for Sun's roughly 3,000 employees in the islands would be gone should the act's name be publicized beforehand, the inside source said.

Friday morning, any surprise for investors came in plans Sun announced to slash 9 percent, or 3,900 employees, of its work force due to a larger than anticipated fiscal first-quarter loss resulting from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a softening economy and "gray market" sales of used Sun computers and equipment.

The company said sales revenue would miss Wall Street expectations by up to $600 million.

None of the Sun corporate communications or public relations executives contacted returned telephone calls.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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