Sun trims fourth-quarter earnings by US$12 million

Sun Microsystems trimmed its fourth quarter and full-year 2004 results this week, to account for final accounting of asset retirement obligations and its settlement with Microsoft.

In financial documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, the Santa Clara, California, company said its net income for the quarter ended June 30, 2004 had been revised down by US$12 million and US$0.01 a share.

Consequently, its 2004 annual net loss was increased by US$12 million, and US$0.01 per share, Sun said.

On July 20, the company reported a fiscal fourth quarter profit of US$795 million, or US$0.24 per share, boosted in great part by the nearly US$2 billion it received as part of a legal settlement made with Microsoft earlier in the quarter. After years of legal wrangling over patent and antitrust issues, Sun and Microsoft announced in April that they had reached a broad cooperation agreement, with Microsoft agreeing to offer hefty cash payments to settle pending litigation.

The payments helped fill Sun's coffers to the point that the cash-strapped company reported a profit instead of what would have been a loss for its fourth quarter. However, Sun said in July that the results were pending final resolution of accounting for the settlement.

Sun is due to announce its next quarterly results on October 14.

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