Sun under Schwartz

A driver of Sun's move towards open source and grid computing, Jonathan Schwartz' rise means Sun will look to better capitalize on Java and network-centric computing.

 The New York Times' John Markoff has a profile of Sun's new CEO Jonathan Schwartz. While it focuses on what Schwartz' Sun might be up to in the consumer and small business markets ("Sun needs an iPod"), there are some goodies for government IT managers too. First, expect the unexpected.

At Sun, initially as head of the company's fledgling software business and more recently as president and chief operating officer, Mr. Schwartz has made it a rule to conduct novel marketing experiments. In his hunt for new growth at Sun, he has begun giving away open-source versions of the company's software, has issued free computer workstations to corporate customers willing to sign up for service agreements, and has taken to selling computing time for a dollar an hour from a large grid of the company's servers.

 

Sun has made some strides with big companies, like Yahoo.

Daniel L. Rosensweig, chief operating officer of Yahoo, said  un's move toward high-performing, efficient computers, its revamping of the server line and its focus on data storage have all been important to Yahoo's willingness to become a big customer again.

But Schwartz will also strongly move the company towards the consumer end of the spectrum.

Mr. Schwartz contends that Java is the No. 1 driver of growth at Sun, ahead of Solaris, its operating system for corporate computers. "More teenagers recognize Java than they do Microsoft, because that is what they have in their pocket on their cellphone," he said in an interview on Tuesday. "Shame on me if I can't find a way to monetize that."

Indeed, as long ago as last year, Mr. Schwartz indicated that he was looking beyond the corporate information technology markets for Sun's future growth. He was concerned about how Sun would be perceived "if all we do is build servers," he wrote in an e-mail message to a reporter. "You can't see or touch them, and we can't use them to make customers feel better about Sun's future."

 

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