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Friday, 20 April, 2001, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Sun reports lower profits
Detail from Sun Microsystems website
Sun is unsure if the US economic slowdown is ending
Sun Microsystems, the US network computer maker, has reported a fall in profits of 41% for the three months to the end of March.

The developer of the Java computer programming language blamed the slowing US economy for the downturn in sales and said the economic outlook was uncertain.

The economy looks more like Bill Clinton's lie detector test

Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems

"The economy looks more like Bill Clinton's lie detector test," said Scott McNealy, Sun's chief executive, observing that the days of smooth, cyclical swings in the US economy were gone.

Companies had to learn to adjust to sudden changes in the business climate, he said.

Breakdown

Earnings in the quarter - the third of Sun's financial year - dropped by nearly half to $263m (182m), or eight cents a share, compared with the same period a year earlier.

Then they were at $464m, or 14 cents a share.

But sales rose 2% to $4.1bn in the three months to the end of March, from $4bn last year.

"Our results reflected the sharp decline in capital spending in the information technology sector, principally in the United States," said Michael Lehman, a company spokesman.

"We did see some moderation of demand in Europe and Asia Pacific," he added.

But the company said it sees "huge opportunity for growth" in markets such as China, Italy, Poland and Spain.

Looking ahead, Sun predicts a 15% rise in revenue next year.

Following the earnings announcement, Sun shares were steady at about $21 in electronic trade, having closed at $20.71 on Thursday.

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See also:

10 Feb 00 | Microsoft
Sun Microsystems: A brief history
24 Jan 01 | Business
Microsoft settles Sun dispute
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