Sun's McNealy speaks too soon

Murphy's Law: First, Sun CEO Scott McNealy pokes fun at Windows, then his own product demo goes haywire

Scott McNealy inadvertently found himself giving witness Thursday to that old saying -- or a variation thereof: People who live in digital houses shouldn't throw stones.

During his keynote to the Consumer Electronics Show here, the CEO of Sun Microsystems demonstrated several networked appliances inside his company's prototype digital home. But after poking fun at the infamous crashes of Microsoft's operating system, things started to go awry under McNealy's own roof.

During a one-hour presentation, McNealy showed off a host of networked appliances, including a BlackBerry pager, a Web-connected cell phone that could control the digital home's functions, and a Java-enabled networked coffee machine.

Unfortunately, the pager's instant message never got through, the Web-connected cell phone could not get a signal and the coffee machine demo had to be aborted.

All this after McNealy threw rocks at Microsoft's Windows CE operating system. "I tell you one thing," he said at the beginning of the keynote. "The common environment will not be CE. There is not enough room for Ctrl-Alt-Del on many of these things.

"Everyone talks about getting people connected to the Internet. But that's the simple part," he said. "There are only a few billion people or so. The difficult part is networking things."

Despite all of the problems, McNealy held his ground. "To bet against the network is a very bad bet," he said.

For full coverage, see the CES News Special.

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