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McNealy & Schwartz Make Sun's Great Free-Software Gamble

Scott McNealy Claims "Sun Is Back," Just As He Has Claimed It's Back in 2002, 2003, 2004. . .

Even though in April 2004 he appointed Jonathan Schwartz president and COO, Sun supremo Scott McNealy has never quite managed to take a step backwards out of the limelight. Or even half a step for that matter. The blame for that lies squarely on McNealy's shoulders - or, rather, on his lips. Because no other CEO in the Valley has quite McNealy's gift for quips, put-downs, one-liners, and significant "quotable quotes." JDJ News Desk here brings a weekend round-up.

"Sun Is Not Proprietary, Just As IBM Is Not Bankrupt"

It was a year ago now that McNealy tore into a reporter as follows:

"For 22 years, I've said name a technical specification at Sun that is not open, published or adopted by some or all of the computer industry. You can't. To call Sun proprietary is as big a lie as you could put in your newspaper. If I were to say IBM is bankrupt and you were to publish that, that would be the same as saying Sun is proprietary."

"Sun Does Not Favor Mega-Mergers"
According to McNealy, Sun's mergers and acquisitions – unlike (he would argue) Oracle's, Adobe's, and AT&T's – aren't quick fixes aimed at instantly growing its customer base. They're "thoughtful, strategic acquisitions that complement and enhance [Sun's] historic strengths."

"There was a Lot of Dancing"
Asked in June 2005 about the background to the historic Sun-Microsoft "peace treaty," McNealy noted that he invited Steve Ballmer to play golf in the spring of 2003, an invitation the Microsoft CEO accepted. "There was a lot of dancing for a full year," McNealy continued. "We met in the spring (of 2003). It was the beginning of April (2004), a year later, when we finally got it together."

Before the "thaw" between the two companies, McNealy was of course justly famous for his many and various digs at Microsoft. Here are the top ten:

"The only thing that I'd rather own than Windows is English, because then I could charge you two hundred and forty-nine dollars for the right to speak it." --Scott McNealy, quoted at BrainyQuotes

"Only a monopolist could study a business and ruin it by giving away products." --Scott McNealy, quoted at

"Try moving off NT easily. You can move from Solaris to HP/UX to AIX or DEC easily relative to moving off of NT, which is like a Roach Motel. Once you check in, you never check out. " --Scott McNealy, quoted at World of Quotes

"With Microsoft the first hit is always free - remember that all your life." --Scott McNealy, quoted at CNet

"I am convinced that if General Motors could eliminate [Microsoft] Office from their entire company, they could get the 1999 cars out next year at half price." --Scott McNealy, quoted at Anti-Microsoft Association Web site

"We've got bayonets fixed, and we'll go into any cave no matter how dark and dank it is. And in the air war [against Microsoft to win new developers], we'll go after any developer and not just let them turn over to the dark side." --Scott McNealy, quoted at 

"Microsoft is now talking about the digital nervous system. I guess I would be nervous if my system was built on their technology too." --Scott McNealy, November 4, 1998 - quoted at

"Every time you turn on your new car, you're turning on 20 microprocessors. Every time you use an ATM, you're using a computer. Every time I use a settop box or game machine, I'm using a computer. The only computer you don't know how to work is your Microsoft computer, right?" --Scott McNealy, quoted at Anti-Microsoft Association Web site

"It's mankind against Microsoft."

The last two quotes we've selected come from the same BusinessWeek interview in which McNealy coined the phrase "It's mankind against Microsoft."

Here they are:

Q: Do you regret any of the barbs you've hurled at Microsoft over the years?

McNealy: I should make this off-the-record, but I do regret when I once said something regarding Gates about how "my kid is smarter than your kid." Q: What about Ballmer and Butthead? Was that a mistake?

McNealy: Oh no, I don't regret that one! That was funny."

The last two quotes we've selected come from the same BusinessWeek interview in which McNealy coined the phrase "It's mankind against Microsoft." 

More Stories By Java News Desk

JDJ News Desk monitors the world of Java to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards in the Java and i-technology space.

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Most Recent Comments
Dov Wasserman 12/06/05 01:39:47 AM EST

Page has a lot of repitition. You might want to inform the editorial department they let one slip by.


-Dov Wasserman
[email protected]

y.d. 12/04/05 04:07:49 AM EST

u r pushing every story back i could not post one yet for 60 mnts