Sun's McNealy chides Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat

Sun Microsystems Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy at the 2004 JavaOne conference in San Francisco on Tuesday extended an open invitation to Microsoft and Linux OS vendor Red Hat to join the Java Community Process (JCP), and also stressed that Sun, which has struggled financially lately, is not going away.

The JCP provides a procedure for proposing and amending the Java platform. While noting that Sun and Microsoft have been working behind the scenes to better cooperate as per a recent agreement, McNealy nonetheless urged both Microsoft and Red Hat to join the JCP.

"I encourage both of these organizations to come to class and to participate and to contribute," McNealy said.

McNealy said Sun and Microsoft have been working on efforts such as directory interoperability, to enable users to log in to both .Net and Java environments simultaneously. An announcement about phase 1 of interoperability between Sun and Microsoft is expected this summer, McNealy said. Microsoft is not participating in the JavaOne conference, though, according to Microsoft representatives.

Sun has been a good steward of Java, McNealy said, defending the company's position to not open up Java under an open source format. "Somebody's got to be in charge or nobody is," he said. He also criticized IBM for urging Sun to offer Java under an open source format, stressing IBM has been lacking in its own open source contributions while Sun has been a major contributor.

McNealy defended Sun's financial position, saying the company has had 22 percent year-to-year growth in server unit volumes the past three quarters. Sun is not going away, he stressed. The company has about US$7.5 billion in cash in the bank and an installed base that has provided $131 billion in revenue to Sun to date.

Sun, however, posted a net loss of $760 million for its third fiscal quarter of 2004, which ended March 28, and posted a net loss of $125 million for the quarter before that.

Also on Tuesday:

* McNealy and Sun President and COO Jonathan Schwartz argued that JavaCard technology use on PCs could solve the virus problem prevalent on Windows PCs by providing multifactor authentication. Identifying the user abates mischief, the Sun officials stressed. "We haven't played this up a lot but no one's written a virus in Java," Schwartz said.

* McNealy, responding to a media question about the effects of offshore outsourcing on Java programmers, said Java already is in use all over the planet.

"I don't understand what offshoring means. There's Java programming going on all over the planet," McNealy said.

* McNealy and Schwartz downplayed the impact of Sun's plans to provide its Solaris OS through an open source format, saying many parties are just not interested.

"I haven't run into one customer that thinks we need to open-source Solaris," McNealy said.

"It's a wonderful tempest in a media teapot," he added.

* McNealy urged attendees to fight to maintain stock options, which he said may go away because of congressional action.

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