The New York Times is reporting on its tech blog that Sun Microsystems has cancelled a long-running, but star-crossed, effort to develop a high-performance computer chip that the company once considered a key element of its turnaround strategy.

The report comes just weeks before Sun’s stockholders are scheduled to vote on a deal for the company to be acquired by Oracle, the business software giant, for $7.4 billion. A Sun spokeswoman declined comment on the report, which the Times attributed to unnamed sources.

Sun has been working on the chip, code-named “Rock,” for more than five years. The company is better known for making servers and software, although it’s had some success in recent years with other high-performance chips of its own design.

But much of the computer server industry, meanwhile, has shifted to machines built with lower-cost commodity chips from companies like Intel and AMD. Sun was hoping the Rock would help it move ahead at the high-performance end of the market, where it competes with bigger rivals such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

The Rock had 16 processor cores and was designed for high-end servers that would be used to crunch huge amounts of data quickly. But it reportedly suffered from development glitches that forced Sun to postpone its debut from 2008 to later this year.

Brandon Bailey Brandon Bailey (338 Posts)

Brandon Bailey covers Google, Facebook and Yahoo for the San Jose Mercury News, reporting on the business and culture of the Internet.