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Sun President: Free Software Means Better Business

Sun Microsystems President and COO Jonathan Schwartz discussed partner opportunities around open-source technology, Web services, service-oriented architectures and Java Business Integration technology in Java Enterprise Edition 5 in an interview with CRN at the JavaOne conference.
CRN: Microsoft made announcements about making Windows Mobile 5.0 more competitive with RIM's BlackBerry, which is based on Java. What is Sun doing to advance the Java platform for mobile?

SCHWARTZ: IBM's validation with its 11-year licensing agreement validates that this is an open-participant, dynamic community and cuts [the perception] that Sun controls Java. As we look to the future of mobile devices, whether BlackBerry or Blu-ray devices, it's a validation of the Java process that will drive the next wave of innovation. We have no plans to be in the push e-mail environment, but we're supportive of [Java partners]. They picked Java 70 to 1 over the [Microsoft] .Net platform [for mobile development].

CRN: Solaris shines against competitors in dynamic partitioning and trusted containers, and these remain competitive differentiators. With OpenSolaris, are you now concerned that platform vendors might reverse-engineer your technology and catch up quickly?

SCHWARTZ: I'd encourage them to do so. Look, you don't open-source code lightly.

CRN: But if it popped up in a Microsoft operating system?

SCHWARTZ: Then they'll have to sign the CDDL and live up to it. And I'm not holding my breath.

CRN: By open-sourcing your app server, are you taking on BEA, JBoss or IBM?

SCHWARTZ: We are all competing for an edge. We hope it will bring us as big of a share of the next wave as possible. We've been a relatively small player in the traditional application server market, and we'll hope to be a bigger player in the next wave.

CRN: What keeps you up at night?

SCHWARTZ: My two-and-a-half-year-old.

CRN: From a business standpoint, that is.

SCHWARTZ: Perception is something we've worked diligently to improve in the developer community, and now the perception of Sun is 180 degrees different than it was three years ago. We are now truly a leader in the open-source community, driving authentic standards-setting processes. And IBM's validation [on Monday] put a nail in the coffin of the cynicism that says Sun [controls Java]. It starts with the developers. Now we can turn our attention to investors and customers. Now we can try to grow financially and give investors something to get excited about.

CRN: There were published reports that Sun will be privatized. Is that under consideration?

SCHWARTZ: It's not in our plan.

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