The world according to Schwartz

Highly opinionated and armed with a seemingly endless supply of colourful phrases, Sun Microsystems president Jonathan Schwartz had plenty to say during his three-day stint in Australia last week.

As well as taking the time to meet with customers from government, telecommunications and the financial services sector, Schwartz held a media briefing with Computerworld and delivered a blunt assessment of the current IT landscape.

Here are some of the highlights of the world according to Schwartz.

On Dell: "Dell runs its business on the lines of 'why bother with innovation in a PC if all you want is a good price'. A major competitor of Dell is Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart has perfected the process of delivering products that have no innovative value, just a better price.

On HP: It is trying to become Dell by moving away from innovation towards resale. It is becoming a channel company. We're the only vendor that has the ability to offer a complete package because no one else owns its own operating system.

On IBM: IBM is a very inventive company but it is also historically known for making incredible strategic gaffes. It thought Linux was going to boil all the oceans and cure all the cancers.

On Linux: It is a wonderful concept as a social movement, but the pragmatic reality is that you have to buy a product from a company.

On open source: The only companies that have something to fear from open source are the companies that can't innovate. Because if you can't keep up with someone who's copying your code, that's appalling. Sun Microsystems has spent more time than anybody giving away good ideas; and that is because we have such express confidence in our ability to come up with another 50 good ideas tomorrow.

On Red Hat: We've spent three years fundamentally re-architecting Solaris. We outperform Red Hat on every benchmark; I have no interest in competing with a social movement called Linux.

On the SCO Group: We're confident we don't have an intellectual property problem but in an odd way a lawsuit from SCO would probably do more to establish our street cred in the open source community.

On claims that Sun customers are migrating to HP: I think HP has got a bank in Bolivia that has moved some 15-year-old Sun server to a new Windows box and HP calls that claiming a Sun customer.

Oracle's takeover of PeopleSoft: This is a new era in IT and the emergence of unfriendly deals. Mergers of the past such as HP and Compaq were friendly affairs. I think that era has come to an end.

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