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S&P lowers Sun's credit rating

Standard & Poore's lowered its credit rating of Sun Microsystems from BBB to BB+, the rating and risk evaluation company said Friday. "The downgrade reflects weak and inconsistent profitability and our expectation that Sun will be challenged to profitably expand its market presence," credit analyst Martha Toll-Reed said in a statement. Sun makes powerful networked computers called servers but is diversifying with new lower-end models and with software and services.

S&P put Sun on its "credit watch" list in October, signaling that Sun's rating could slip. Sun has a "good but not leading position" in the market for servers, offset somewhat by moderate debt of $1.3 billion and ample cash and marketable securities expected to stay in excess of $3 billion, S&P said.