Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Sun Sets

Sun Microsystems vanished last night, a company that played a key role in the tech revolution we continue to live in.
The key leaders of the now sunken ship sent farewell memos out to staff yesterday .
McNealy wrote that the last four years since he resigned as CEO at Sun have "not been without serious withdrawal," and that the European Union's approval process of the acquisition was difficult.
"Sun in my mind should have been the great and surviving consolidator. But I love the market economy and capitalism more than I love my company. And I sure "hope" America regains its love affair with capitalism. And except for the auto industry, financial industry, health care, and some other places (I digress), the invisible hand is doing its thing quite efficiently. So I am more than willing to accept this outcome. And my hat is off to one of the greatest capitalists I have ever met, Larry Ellison. He will do well with the assets that Sun brings to Oracle," he wrote.
Sun made mistakes, McNealy wrote. But it innovated like crazy, cared about its customers, and "did not cheat, lie, or break the rule of law or decency."

Schwartz wrote that Sun's technology has changed the world, and called McNealy the "Henry Ford of the technology industry" because of Sun's ability to make innovation accessible to anyone. 
They are both exaggerating, but this is not time to pick at the untruths.  For much of my second career, Sun was the competitor that tormented us most.  In recent years, working in a consortium, I would go so far as to say I became a friend of many Sun employees.  And of at least one employee of the company gobbling them up.
An era ends, and a new one obviously begins.  I hope there is no collateral damage to my friends.


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