McNealy Lays Out Suns Strategy

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2003-09-16 Print this article Print

Sun's chief, in his keynote at SunNetwork 2003 today, reiterated his belief in the network as the center of computing.

SAN FRANCISCO—Admitting that his views are controversial, Sun Microsystems Inc. Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy today reiterated his belief in the network as the center of computing, a movement that he said will lead IT to increasingly be delivered as a service. "I dont believe in doing things the way theyre already being done," he said during a keynote opening the SunNetwork 2003 Conference and Pavilion here. McNealy, along with reviewing Suns releases and performance over the past 15 months, laid out the companys future direction, one that he said would be focused on "recalling cost and complexity," in a reference to the effort to recall Californias governor.
A key part of that effort is Suns launch on Monday of its Sun Java Enterprise System, known as Project Orion, and its Sun Java Desktop System, known as Project Mad Hatter. Sun Executive Vice President Jonathan Schwartz was set to detail a range of new products in his keynote following McNealys.
Along with battling cost and complexity, Suns other major strategies are focusing on the Java Web Service model and expanding mobility with greater security, McNealy said. At the core of the mobility strategy is the Java Card, which provides multi-factor authentication while storing personal information to allow, for example, individuals to access their desktops remotely. Future applications include providing voice-over-IP calls through the companys SunRay thin clients and using the Java Card on set-top boxes in hotels and the home, McNealy said. Already, Sun is prototyping its SunRay thin clients specifically for the home, he said. Addressing the state of the IT industry broadly, McNealy said that it is too bloated today and must undergo a significant transformation to better meet customer needs. "Theres an order of magnitude too many employees, and theyre overcharging by at least 10 times," he said of IT vendors. As companies build data centers today, they typically either build a custom one, outsource the building and management to a third party, buy an entire system in a package or, in what McNealy calls the "fourth stage," purchase software as a service. "Were all going to move to the fourth stage of enlightenment," he said. "Thats the change were seeing in the industry and that change helps Sun." Suns role in the evolution: "Solve the network computing problems on a large scale," McNealy said. The company is focusing on selling to large enterprises, government and services providers and on providing a complete computing system, not just component parts, to customers based on an increasing set reference architectures, he said "We want to sell you the data center, not the pistonry," McNealy said. Discuss this in the eWEEK forum.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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