A Caring Executive
Schwartz was considered by many of his professional colleagues at Sun as a caring and personable manager. High-ranking execs are required to have a layer of steel when it comes to personnel decisions, and Schwartz, naturally, had to deploy that layer on occasion. "There were a few high-ranking Sun execs who didn't give a hoot about anything but themselves," recalled Russ Castronovo, a former Sun media relations officer who's now at Plantronics. "Jonathan was not one of them. I found him very enjoyable to work with." Other Sun colleagues echoed Castronovo's comments. Inadvertent Impression?
To outsiders, however, the low-key Schwartz can give the inadvertent impression of being an "I know more than you" type of guy.
"He also fully got the market's tectonic shift toward x86 [Intel processors] and what that would eventually mean to a proprietary box maker like Sun-something Scott McNealy and [Oracle CEO] Larry Ellison still appear not to have grasped," King added. Schwartz's focus on open source and moving Solaris toward that model made him a figure of some ridicule-especially to people at Oracle-but one could argue that the effort simply may have been too little, too late, according to King. "Finally, his search for a buyer for Sun [an act that incensed McNealy and numerous longtime employees] was, in retrospect, the best outcome the company could have hoped for," King said.