Opening the source allows users to customize their own Cobalt “clones” with a lower cost of ownership. Cobalt became popular with hosting companies for their compact 1U design and user-friendly interface. Sun’s acquisition of Cobalt Networks in 2000 was seen as providing a rapid entry into both the Linux and server appliance markets. But Sun struggled to position Cobalt, and new products from hosting automation vendors made accessible control panels more widely available. In January 2003 Sun took a $1.6 billion charge to its earnings to reflect the decreased value of the Cobalt acquisition.