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In McNealy's Cosmos, the Sun is Going to be Shining Bright for the Next Decade
In McNealy's Cosmos, the Sun is Going to be Shining Bright for the Next Decade

--“We're getting drilled for spending billions of dollars on R&D. Our attitude is: how can you not invest in R&D?”--

(Las Vegas, November 19, 2002) – It was a tradition begun just last month in San Francisco, when Sun’s executive vice president for software, Jonathan Schwartz, bet his boss Scott McNealy $2 that McNealy wouldn’t manage to avoid mentioning Microsoft during his speech.

On that occasion, Sun’s chairman, president, and CEO took the bet - and collected his money after his talk. But here in Las Vegas yesterday, during his COMDEX keynote speech, the jeans-clad Sun supremo mentioned the name not only of Microsoft but also Dell, IBM, HP, Oracle, BEA and others in what turned out to be a wide-ranging – and suprisingly candid – survey of the newly defined landscape for Sun and its competitors.

So it was Jonathan Schwartz’s turn to collect the $2.

McNealy wasn’t in any mood to beat about the bush. There are currently only three real choices in the server or data center architecture market, he maintained: in the 64-bit area, the choice is between Sun and IBM, while at the lower 32-bit end, it’s Microsoft. Then he contradistinguished the three companies from each other.

The problem with IBM’s strategy, as McNealy sees it, is that it is what he termed “un-integratable.” He compared it to “assembling an automobile in your garage while you watch and while you try to get to work.” He contrasted this approach with Microsoft’s solution, which he admitted an “integrated system” since it offers all of the software for the architecture but none of the hardware. He referred to it as an architecture that is “welded shut” so that you don’t get best of breed and you can’t mix and match to get the best solution.“Their strategy is buy one, buy all,” he said.

Ever the master of the choice phrase, McNealy was on top form in yesterday’s keynote address. For a company to let IBM’s Global Services folks into their IT systems amounts to a “self-imposed lobotomy,” he quipped at one point.

McNealy explained why the No. 1 goal of Sun Microsystems right now is “reducing complexity” in the workplace. That was, so far as Sun was concerned, he said, the most significant challenge of the next ten years. “We're getting drilled for spending billions of dollars on R&D. Our attitude is: how can you not invest in R&D?”

Over the next five to ten years, McNealy continued, Sun “will build computers on the network and out of the network, using network-based components instead of the old style of just connecting computers to the network.” This will create what he dubbed the “network server system.”

When he says that the Sun strategy, unlike IBM’s and Microsoft’s, is designed to be “integratable” what he means, said McNealy, is that Sun can most certainly provide everything from the operating systems and the servers to the microprocessors, the storage, the application environment, the programming languages, and the support. But that the customer still gets to pick and choose.

“This is all in a ‘Lego-like’ environment that allows them to take out any piece they don’t like or don’t need,” McNealy explained.

There were other ways of reducing complexity, McNealy said, from demanding that your IT vndor build and test the system in its factory and not (continuing the IBM jibe) in your garage; to requiring developers and purchasing agents to build and buy aplications that run not on an OS but on the Java Sun environment.

“Above all,” McNealy said,” in a final and unmistakable sideswipe at .NET, “you should insist on a choice of application and middleware that has an open interface and uses open standards, and develop an access and mobility plan that has interoperability, single sign-on, and true authentification ability.”

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Reader Feedback: Page 2 of 2

I wish McNearly (! you heard it here first !) would quit whining about the competition and start talking about something innovative that Sun has done in the last 3 years.

Hey Bill,

What Scott says makes sense if you think about it. I can go and buy Sun Hardware and Run any application Server of my choice, no need to be tied to Netscape Iplanet. (Unlike Microsoft.)

I think a competition like Sun can surely put balance in the IT scene than having the monopoly go to one company.

My 2 cents.

Shouldn't push Sun's hardware of choice
to only 32bit. It will hurt Sun in thelong run

For a company that has no Development Tool software, App Server software or Middleware software with more than 2% marketshare, Scott sure talks big.

He sure puts the DOT in DOT BOMB, with his name-calling.

How about some substance, Scott.


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