Sun's Founders Recall The Early Days - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
News
News
1/25/2006
11:55 AM
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Free Yourself from Legacy Apps
Jun 08, 2017
They've served their purpose years ago, but now they're stretching your IT budget and increasing s ...Read More>>

Sun's Founders Recall The Early Days

The Computer History Museum recently hosted the four Sun founders, who shared memories of the first few months of the company's success. CEO Scott McNealy would answer Sun's five sales phone lines all day, then head back to the warehouse to build machines and write purchase orders.

They haven't appeared together in public for years, so it was a real treat last month when the Computer History Museum played host to the Fab Four--the four founders of Sun Microsystems, that is: Vinod Khosla, Bill Joy, Andy Bechtolsheim, and Scott McNealy (left to right, above).

The four were in good humor, and they had a few new memories to share. Joy, for example, revealed that Sun has tried to acquire Apple Computer three times over the years, once through an outright acquisition and twice through mergers. Joy said he gets along well with Apple CEO Steve Jobs and considers it "a personal disappointment" that the companies never built a stronger relationship.

McNealy was less complimentary about Apple, comparing the iPod to the invention of the answering machine.

"I guarantee you it will be hard to sell an iPod five or seven years from now, when every cell phone can access your entire music library wherever you are," McNealy said.

In contrast, McNealy had kind words for Joy, who was an open-source pioneer, inventing the process of community software development. "He has never gotten credit for it," McNealy said.

The four remembered the first few months of Sun's success, when McNealy would answer Sun's five sales phone lines all day, then head back to the warehouse to build machines and write purchase orders.

Sun's fortunes are obviously not as rosy today, but Joy said the industry's move toward open systems--combined with hardware guru Bechtolsheim's return to the company--could help it turn a corner. "It gives me a lot of hope," Joy said.

McNealy reportedly turned red a couple of times during questions about the current state of Sun's business. "We made some mistakes during the bubble, but we also put some cash in the bank," he said.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of Data and Analytics
Today's companies are differentiating themselves using data analytics, but the journey requires adjustments to people, processes, technology, and culture. 
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll