Power Station in a Pizza Box

Fast-rising Sun Microsystems delivers a hot new computer

As befits a precocious seven-year-old company, the workers at Sun Microsystems enjoy a good prank. On April Fools' Day last year they turned the office of their 34-year-old chairman, Scott McNealy, into a putting green with authentic sod. This year they wrapped their headquarters building in Mountain View, Calif., with a layer of plastic wrap.

But when Sun's workers turn to business -- producing workstations, which are high-powered computers in compact packages -- they are all business. Already Sun has eclipsed Apollo Computer, once the dominant force in the booming workstation marketplace. Now Sun is crowding Digital Equipment, a company 25...

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