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Sun Microsystems became the latest company to add to the economic gloom by cutting 9 per cent of its 42,000 staff, an unprecedented number in the company's history. As a result of the job cuts and a reduction in facilities capacity, Sun will take a $500m charge this quarter.

The company stressed it has $6 billion in the bank, and blamed lower demand, rather than competition:- "Outside of us competing with IBM, competition has got weaker if anything," COO Ed Zander said.

Low-end servers will be launched at the end of the month - Daktari and Cherrystone 4-way and 8-ways, in other words - and a big storage revamp was due in early December, he said.

Until this year, Sun last suffered an unprofitable quarter in 1989. ®

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