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Sun Down

Yesterday, one of the longest tenures in the tech space came to an end when Scott McNealy, one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems and for the last 21 years its CEO, announced he was stepping down (subscription required). The company has been struggling for years to extricate itself from the double whammy of the rise of Linux and the fall of dot-coms. We called it back in July of last year in our now-defunct CEO See-Ya at a time when McNealy insisted he wasn't going anywhere.

But even McNealy saw the writing on the wall, it appears. Sometimes organizations simply need new blood to convince shareholders and employees alike that they're serious about change. New CEO Jonathan Schwartz has already impressed a lot of people with his openness and passion for Sun's offerings. But can he fill the shoes of the charismatic man who helped shape our networked world?

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  • mark ivey

    McNealy was truly a visionary, no matter what critics may say, and interesting to work for (I was an executive speechwriter at Sun back in 2003-2004) with his clever sound bites and maverick management style. His "Network is (Still) the Computer" lives on today, and he offered a viable alternative for years to Microsoft, improving the technology landscape. He made serious mistakes in the last few years, mispositioning the company as the market turned and was too slow to adjust. Now we'll see whether Jonathan Schwartz can pull Sun out or not. He has the brains, skills and personal persona to pull it off, but a lot of hurdles and a skeptical market. HP, Dell and others have been doing everything they can to convince customers Sun is on the ropes. One way or the other, the Sun saga will be an interesting show to watch (see my posting at: