McNealy Step Aside

Sun Microsystems under Scott McNealy has been a visionary provider that has fallen victim to the unrelenting pace of change and their own allegiance to past business models in the computing market. Sun seems to be case of that awkward proof that good guys finish second best. Look at the Accidental Empire builders of the 2nd computing era – Apple with it Jobsian dictatorship, Microsoft with its carefully cultivated monopolies, and Oracle with its winner-take-all mentality have endured and prospered. Meanwhile Sun, a pillar of standards compliance in comparison to the previous named troika of vendors and one of the earliest and continuing strongest contributors to the Open Source community has been reviled and simply treated shabbily by that very same Open Source community especially over Java. Talk about wisdom(???) in the Open Source community???

Now of course, Sun and Scott can be rightfully accused of sticking too long to a premium price model when clearly commodity pricing trends were starting to dominate in both the desktop and server market places. And having seen the first denouement in the WinNT takeover of the desktop (helped by SGI allying with Microsoft to SGIs eventual demise); Sun and McNealy were remiss in nearly missing the x86 server side dominance and wishing like IBM and HP that their proprietary chips could outperform the AMD+Intel x86 juggernaut. And likewise to think that Solaris x86 could be the dominant server OS if Oen Solaris had started 5 years earlier. But protecting SPARC took precedence. So in the midst of a possible recovery swing, Scott McNealy is ceding the reins to Jonathan Schwartz, seeker of revenues and profits at the disruptive edge.

I will admit to no insights beyond the obvious, and wish Sun, Scott, Jonathan and the companys combined willingness to continue to invest in domestic R&D – I wish them Bona Fortuna – that the gods of opportunity will be good and they will be prepared to strike well when Fortuna arrives.

(c) JBSurveyer 2006

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