This morning’s SmartBrief on ExecTech newsletter contained an alluring headline: “Why “superstacks” are becoming an IT strategy.” Clicking through to the CRN article revealed less than stellar journalism; luckily the full PDF is available from Accenture for download. (This infographic PDF tells you everything you need to know, so you don’t actually have to read a whole lot.)

A Superstack (pronounced like “Superstar” by Molly Shannon, SNL) is:

…a more extensive and cohesive integration of operating systems, semiconductor chips, devices, applications and end-user services than the industry has traditionally achieved.

Apple is prominently cited as providing just such:


Accenture Superstack (appropriated w/o permission from Superstack PDF; very sorry)

I remember another company that also offered a Superstack, but they weren’t very marketing savvy, and ultimately lacked strategy, which Apple had in spades (under Jobs). They were called Sun Microsystems.

Sun had:

  • Chipsets
  • an OS (if they’d have open-sourced Solaris sooner Linux would have fared poorly)
  • Server hardware
  • Middleware
  • Virtualization (xVM, Java!)
  • A kick-ass filesystem
  • Grid computing
  • Office applications

And they had the Sun Ray™ Ultra-Thin Client (PDF)—a most cool idea that didn’t go anywhere (and wasn’t portable like an iPhone). So many benefits, so few buyers.

I don’t really miss Sun, but I don’t think of Apple as pioneering (hypocritical comes to mind more readily).