McNealys Circle of Friends

Opinion: Sun's ties with Google and Microsoft set up interesting possibilities.

Scott McNealy does know how to pick his friends. It doesnt seem too long ago that the Sun CEO and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer agreed to bury the hatchet once and for all and start a new cooperative relationship. In an eerily similar scene last week, McNealy sat next to old Sun chum and current Google CEO Eric Schmidt to discuss their new software distribution agreement, which made up in speculation what it lacked in substance. Sun officials did suggest theres much more to come, Senior Editor Peter Galli reports this week.

McNealy said the relationship is just business and that hes not playing favorites. "Were going after revenue, growth, customers, profits and the community," he said. "Thats all I have to say about that." Its doubtful that the Sun-Google axis will damage a Sun-Microsoft alliance, but, at the same time, one does not see McNealy mediating a separate peace between Microsoft and its new archrival. In fact, if the proliferation of Web services is the ultimate goal, then Sun has set itself up nicely between the two superpowers just as next-generation software development is taking off.

Once upon a time, instant messaging was considered not ready, nor even appropriate, for the enterprise. Now IM applications are becoming standard issue for all users and essential to corporate communications strategies. This is true especially in the financial services industry, which even boasts its own IM standards body—FIMA, the Financial Services Instant Messaging Association. UBS, the subject of our latest eWEEK Road Map feature, has been building out its IM system for years and now passes some 65 million messages a month through IM, eWEEK Executive Editor Stan Gibson reports.

Still, theres much work to be done around IM technology in terms of control, compatibility and interoperability. "Chat today is where e-mail was 15 to 20 years ago," UBS Investment Bank CIO Phil Freeborn told Gibson. One new development comes in the form of federated IM, which enables corporate messaging applications to communicate with one another and securely tap into public IM networks. In eWEEK Labs this week, Technical Analyst Michael Caton reviews Antepos OPN (Open Presence Network) System XT and Jabbers JabberNow as two solutions to bridge the gaps between IBMs Lotus Sametime and Microsofts Live Communications Server.

eWEEK magazine editor Scot Petersen can be reached at

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...