Java Industry News
Sun CEO Reviews Company's Prospects for 2009-10
The three forward-looking entries Jonathan Schwartz has produced so far in this series are miniature masterpieces
By: Jeremy Geelan
Mar. 15, 2009 10:00 AM
Sun's CEO Jonathan Schwartz has been reviewing Sun's three major strategic imperatives, and the company's progress going in to its next fiscal year. As industry blogs go, the three entries he's produced so far are miniature masterpieces. A fourth and last one is on its way.
"We're approaching the end of our fiscal year, and given all the swirl in the economy, I thought it worthwhile to restate where Sun's headed as a company, to let customers, partners, employees and investors see and understand where we're headed. Clarity's always useful, doubly so in times of uncertainty."
But it isn't long before Schwartz shows us how he's earned his reputation as one of the industry's most insightful bloggers, with a natural ear for a ringing phrase:
"I'm neither worried about the role information technology will play in the economy, nor am I worried about the relevance of Sun's offerings. I'm not worried about the future, I'm focused on its arrival date." [emphasis added]
In his second post. Schwartz gets down to his real message, namely Sun's strategic imperatives.
and it is in the course of his further explanation that perhaps the best passages in the three blogs published so far occur.
At one point, for example, he seeks to explain "positive option value." It strongly bears reproduction in full:
"Not to dip into finance 101, when the net present value of a lifetime revenue cycle exceeds the value of a one time purchase, a product or service that initiates the payment stream is either freely distributed (if it has no marginal cost, like software), or subsidized (if it has a hard cost). That's why you see so many free credit cards, free checking account, free mobile phones, free month's rent, free social networking, etc. In the technology world, free is the new black.
In his third blog entry, Schwartz nails Sun's business model even more succinctly: "We offer utterly exceptional service, support and enterprise technologies to those that have more money than time," he notes. Adding, "It's a good business."That concision follows an example that Schwartz cites to help once and for all explain how it is that free software and commercially supported software co-exist side by side. I will end by quoting it in full:
"When Free is Too Expensive
A year later, he was issuing a purchase order to Sun for several of our software products. To have a little fun with him (and the Sun sales rep), I told him before he passed me the purchase order that the products were all open source, freely available for download.
He looked at me, then at his rep, and said "What? Then why am I paying you a million dollars?" I responded, "You can absolutely run it for free. You just can't call me on Christmas day, you'll be on your own." He gave me the PO. At the scale he was running, the cost of downtime dwarfed the cost of the license and support. Numerically, most developers and technology users have more time than money. Most readers of this blog are happy to run unsupported software, and we are very happy to supply it. For a far smaller population, the price of downtime radically exceeds the price of a license or support - for some, the cost of downtime is measured in millions per minute. If you're tracking packages or fleets of aircraft, running an emergency response network or a trading floor, you almost always have more money than time."
Great blogging by Sun's CEO. Keep it coming!
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