eWeek: Youre using [PricewaterhouseCoopers], now part of IBM, as your consultant. Have they resisted suggesting that IBM servers ought to replace the Sun servers? St. John: Oh, I wouldnt say that [laughter]. The [PwC] partners now have a role to know whom theyre working for. Although we are a big Sun shop, I am open to what other vendors offer and how I can achieve the most capability for the most effective cost. IBM [Global Services] is smart enough to know that we are a Sun, Oracle and BEA [Systems Inc.] shop. If IBM wants to become a worldwide technology consulting shop, theyre going to have to become more technology-agnostic. But they realize their core competence is going to be around integration. I have not felt any pressure. But I am not someone you can pressure.St. John: Web services industry standards have to evolve to a much more mature place, to have something like [Universal Description, Discovery and Integration] be something we are comfortable with because we want a controlled and secure environment. We are a service-based architecture, using a J2EE foundation, which we think is very suitable for our business problems, and that will enable us to extend Web services to our business partners. Whats attractive to us about Sun and BEA is their adherence to an open standard. The downside of open standards is that it takes longer because things have to go to committee, and you have to have agreement. eWeek: It doesnt sound like you have much use for Microsoft technologies. St. John: We use Microsoft on the desktop and for some other front-end stuff. But were a big-scale environment, and that is not Microsofts strong suit. eWeek: Are you ready to place bets on Linux at this point? St. John: No. Were looking at it. But were always looking at most everything. We do extremely careful due diligence on technology decisions. We want to use proven technology from the market leaders, so well only use niche emerging technologies where there is a huge competitive advantage and we have really looked under the covers so were comfortable. My approach with vendors is: Show me. I have to see a demonstrated application in an environment that is similar to mine.
eWeek: Lets talk about Web services. IBM is pretty standards-focused there. Is closer work with IBM on Web services in the offing?