Ex-Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz Launches Health Care IT Venture

Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz will attempt to steer his career into a successful new phase with a startup health care IT Website named "Picture of Health."

Jonathan Schwartz, the former CEO of Sun Microsystems, has formed a health care IT firm with the corporate name of Informed Biometry and the Website name Picture of Health. Schwartz, who is also CEO of the new company, told eWEEK in a Sept. 13 e-mail that the corporate name will "fade into the background."

The new venture's co-founder and CTO is Walter Smith, a former developer, architect and development manager for Microsoft, where he worked on Internet Explorer, Windows and MSN. Smith was also a developer of the Newton OS at Apple and recently co-founded the consumer Website design platform Jackson Fish Market.

Schwartz shared the news on his personal blog on Sept. 9. Schwartz didn't get into details on the new venture but noted that focusing on health was a "personal choice" for both him and Smith. "Everyone cares about it in a deeply personal way (it's tough to say the same about specialized microprocessors)," Schwartz wrote. "Mums, Dads, children, friends, loved ones, nurses, doctors, even insurance companies and governments-everyone on Earth, in one form or another, cares about health and well-being."

"At this point, we're not discussing our target, beyond the application of technology to public health," Schwartz wrote in a Sept. 13 e-mail to eWEEK. "We are, however, hiring developers and designers." The company's Website also notes that it's hiring software generalists.

In a New York Times interview, Schwartz reportedly hinted at plans for software and services to help people track their information and for an HIE (health information exchange) to allow patients and health care providers to exchange information.

Schwartz was CEO of Sun from 2006 to 2010. When he left the company on Feb. 4, he did so by tweeting a haiku: "Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more."

According to the Times blog post at the time, he was the first leader of a Fortune 200 company to announce an exit using Twitter. According to the Times, he was also the first company CEO to write a blog.

"Most places on Earth, the Internet is more accessible than electricity, clean water, or basic sanitation," the new company states on its Picture of Health Website. "That's an amazing proliferation, and an outstanding opportunity to apply simple technologies to some of the world's most pressing problems. We're setting out to do exactly that, focusing on the intersection of innovation and public health."

Following Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems on Jan. 27, Schwartz searched for a new role. In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 8, 2009, Sun reported that Schwartz was to receive $12 million as part of his severance package.

Sun's servers and workstations and Solaris enterprise software are now part of the Oracle product portfolio.