Even if rumors are off-base that Sun chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz is set to be replaced by chairman and co-founder Scott McNealy, Schwartz has “a lot riding on showing growth or an exit strategy,” an analyst says.

Neither one has come through, said Forrester Research Inc . analyst James Staten, according to Computerworld.

He noted that even before recent failed discussions between IBM and Sun to merge, customers were wary of Sun, thinking about alternative platforms. Changing platforms is a center-of-mind question every three months among Sun customers, he said, many Sun users were thinking about Linux and x86 systems as alternatives to Sparc machines running Solaris.

The tough economy is also making it harder for Sun’s server sales, said analyst Judith Hurwitz at Hurwitz & Associates, who says “people run for safety” in that type of situation.

However analyst Natahn Brookwood with Insight64 says many customers will continue investing in Sun products if they need to add processing capacity.

Recently, Sun reported 11 percent revenue loss for its 2009 fiscal second quarter about $3.22 billion from $3.62 same quarter in 2008. And net loss of $209 million or 28 cents per shares.

On Monday, Sun shares fell 55 cents, or 1.89 percent to $28.48.