Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Microsoft Sun Microsystems

Ex-Sun Chief Dishes Dirt On Gates, Jobs 241

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the why-is-there-no-extra dept.
alphadogg writes "Former CEO of Sun Microsystems Jonathan Schwartz has taken to his personal blog, provocatively titled 'What I couldn't say ...,' to dish some industry dirt and tell his side of the story about the demise of Sun. He has already hinted at plans to write a book, and a new post suggests a tell-all tome could indeed be in the offing. 'I feel for Google — Steve Jobs threatened to sue me, too,' Schwartz writes, apparently referring to Apple's patent lawsuit against HTC, which makes Google's Nexus One smartphone. As for Bill Gates, Schwartz says he was threatening regarding Sun's efforts in the office software space."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ex-Sun Chief Dishes Dirt On Gates, Jobs

Comments Filter:
  • I wonder (Score:5, Funny)

    by Capt James McCarthy (860294) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @10:02AM (#31425532) Journal

    If his blog is running on a Sun box.

  • Good stuff (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @10:07AM (#31425592) Homepage

    Hopefully it'll be good stuff, like him only tipping 6% or never washing his hands when he took a whizz (because it comes out the end, not the sides). Hopefully they'll include the time he slapped Steve Ballmer upside the head for not siding with him over Vista's design.

    But unfortunately it'll probably just be some boring anti-trust nonsense.

    • Book about Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @10:25AM (#31425762)
      A good, but old, book that gives an idea of the reality of Microsoft is Barbarians Led by Bill Gates. [amazon.com] (August 15, 1998)

      The book was written by Jennifer Edstrom, the daughter of Pam Edstrom, manager of Microsoft's P.R. agency, Waggener Edstrom, and a former Microsoft manager. The Amazon.com review says the book "... presents a harsher and messier history, sharply questioning Microsoft's ethics and corporate wisdom..."

      The book seems authoritative; the authors certainly had inside access to the facts. It's certainly unusual that the daughter of one of the heads of Microsoft's P.R. agency would write a book discussing Microsoft's abusiveness in detail.
      • by goldmaneye (1374027) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @11:50AM (#31426856)

        The Amazon.com review says the book "... presents a harsher and messier history, sharply questioning Microsoft's ethics and corporate wisdom..."

        From the same Amazon review:
        "Both stand open to the charge of having an ax to grind, and the reader senses a lot of personal animosity at work."

        The book seems authoritative; the authors certainly had inside access to the facts.

        Emphasis on "seems." The Amazon reviewer you quoted further mentions that some of the information was already available, and that "... most of the new information presented has the ring, at least, of probability."

        Not a strong endorsement of this book as "the reality of Microsoft." Probably an interesting and amusing read, but one that needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

    • Well, if the TFA is any preview, there isn't going to be anything in there that's going to be much of a surprise.

      In other words, it'll be the same Schwartz we came to know and love at Sun - all hat and no cattle.

    • by SimonGhent (57578)

      I don't think there's going to be any good stuff...

      From TFA,

      Jobs: If we moved forward to commercialize it, "I'll just sue you."

      Schwartz: And that was the last I heard on the topic. Although we ended up abandoning Looking Glass

      As in life, bluster and threat are commonplace in business

      It seems unfair to call it "bluster and threat" when the reason that Jobs didn't go through with his promised action was that there was no need to...

      This reads like a lot of bull to me.

    • Re:Good stuff (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:11PM (#31427172) Journal
      Only tipping 6% is inexcusable. I've finally pulled myself out of credit card debt, half-way, after 3 months (I have several hundred in savings and could knock it all the way off with a handwave). I tip over 30%, for cheap services I tip over 200% (a $3 coat check might land a $10 in the coat check girl's hands, if she's not a bitch). Granted, my expenses for a night might run up in the $30-$60 range; what's another $10-$20? If I could throw $3000 for a night out though, a $500 tip would be... okay, if I could throw $3000 for dinner and wine, $1000 isn't going to kill me or I'm a complete retard for spending $3000 I can't afford.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      or never washing his hands when he took a whizz

      An Irishman and an Englishman are walking out of a public rest room. The Englishman says "Sir, in England we wash our hands after we urinate."

      The Irishman says "Yeah? Well in Ireland we don't piss on our fingers!"

      Personally, I won't put my dick anywhere I won't put my tongue, I can't say the same about my hands. My dick's far cleaner than my hands at any given time. I'll wash my hands BEFORE I piss. Let me guess -- your mother (or some other female) taught you

  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @10:12AM (#31425636)

    I wonder which Java patents Schwartz was referring to, Checked Exceptions or Type Erasure?

    • by binarylarry (1338699) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @10:56AM (#31426108)

      I'm sure most of the patents are in the virutal machine technology like HotSpot and various APIs that are used on the Java platform (like how he mentions Kodak suing over RMI in the article).

      Java has checked and unchecked exceptions (Exception vs RuntimeException), so the developer gets to choose how strict to be with parts of their API. Type Erasure can be annoying but it's fairly clever for maintaining backwards compatibility and the end results are much faster than "true generics" found in other platforms.

      • Unfortunately, the developer doesn't get to choose which parts of Java API uses checked or unchecked exceptions.

        • Coder Protip: If you're using an API you don't like, use a different one.

          And with Java you're lucky, because the development community is so massive, there's at least a couple of implementations.

    • I just assumed it was the patent about compiling everything into fake instructions for a slow virtual machine.

      The only thing that's changed since the early 90s is the "slow" part.

    • by ebuck (585470)
      The stack based virtual machine? Sorry, just too many bad patent stories of late... :)
  • ...which means that any dirt dished will seem like sour grapes, and be ignored - so I guess at least he'll be consistent

    • I'm not sure why operating system adoption needs to be a battle to win. The venture almost certainly made multi-millionheirs out of its founders like Bill Joy and Scot McNealy, and just because over time it crumpled under new competition doesn't mean that they didn't have a good run of it. Hell, who wouldn't want to be in their shoes, even today?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      So, they made a single error (not releasing Solaris under the GPL 10 years earlier) and wound up losing one battle because of it. They did not lose the Java battle (although if Oracle does not pull it together, Java may yet be crushed by .NET) and they did not lose the OpenOffice.org/StarOffice battle (they do not have Microsoft's market share, but adoption of OpenOffice.org is certainly growing), and those two are probably much more important than Solaris, in the long run; had Sun realized this sooner, pe
  • by Lemming Mark (849014) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @10:22AM (#31425734) Homepage

    It's interesting what Schwartz has to say about how things work "on the inside". Companies bluffing and calling each other's bluff. Showing up and going "I'm watching you". His description makes it sound a bit like Jobs & Gates hadn't really thought their cunning plan all the way through, which I would think is unlikely. I'd have guessed they were just testing Sun's resolve, finding out how Sun evaluated their own patent portfolio, investigating whether these projects (Looking Glass and OpenOffice) were just a tech demo or were something that Sun wanted to stand by and protect. What his blog post didn't mention was on how many occasions Sun did the same thing to another company, big or small. It would be laudable if they refused to do that but it would also mean they were deliberately pulling their punches, so it would be a bit surprising from a large corporation.

    NetApp sued sun over patents ZFS arguably violated: http://www.sun.com/lawsuit/zfs/ [sun.com]. But NetApp alleged that Sun had first demanded patent royalties from NetApp and that they were acting in response to that: http://blogs.netapp.com/dave/2007/09/sun-patent-team.html [netapp.com]

    Who knows where the truth lies over the ZFS case but it does open the prospect that Sun wasn't sitting passively by and getting threatened by other companies. On the other hand, there could be more to this story than meets the eye (e.g. the kind of high level meetings Schwartz refers to, preceeding the legal letters) in which case it might not be anything like so simple. We've not generally seen Sun visibly holding back (or trying to) the marketplace using patents as much as, say, MS or Apple might have done. But it doesn't mean that given their investment in patents they didn't try to use them.

    • I'd like to clarify that when I said "

      NetApp sued sun over patents ZFS arguably violated

      " what I meant was "argued by NetApp". I've not looked through the patents so I haven't got a position on whether ZFS violates them, or whether they're sane, or whether they're invalidated by prior art. I understand that NetApp's copy-on-write WAFL filesystem does predate ZFS, so it wouldn't be entirely surprising if NetApp did hold related patents.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        > > NetApp sued sun over patents ZFS arguably violated
        > what I meant was "argued by NetApp".

        Are you looking for the word "allegedly"?
  • Grow Up@ (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Reber Is Reber (1434683) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @10:36AM (#31425868) Journal
    According to Jonathan Schwartz, Steve Jobs told him "If you move forward to commercialize it, I'll just sue you." over the phone after Sun presented Looking Glass, a desktop concept similar to Mac OS X's. After that, Schwartz put Steve in his place:

    "Steve, I was just watching your last presentation, and Keynote looks identical to Concurrence – do you own that IP?" Concurrence was a presentation product built by Lighthouse Design, a company I'd help to found and which Sun acquired in 1996. Lighthouse built applications for NeXTSTEP, the Unix based operating system whose core would become the foundation for all Mac products after Apple acquired NeXT in 1996. Steve had used Concurrence for years, and as Apple built their own presentation tool, it was obvious where they'd found inspiration. "And last I checked, MacOS is now built on Unix. I think Sun has a few OS patents, too." Steve was silent.

    I personally think it all of this suing is petty and dumb. This reminds me of when I was about 10 and when my little cousin would always say "I'll sue you" whenever he didn't get his way. Personally I think all these CEO's need to grow up and realize all they are doing is hampering technology and the advancement of the human race.
    • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @11:14AM (#31426386) Homepage

      Apple once sued Microsoft on the theory that Windows infringed on the "look and feel" of Mac OS, so it's not at all surprising they would threaten to do the same to Sun over the look and feel of Looking Glass. It's just Apple being Apple, and Jobs being a dick, as usual.

      Apple's litigious nature is one of the reasons I tend to avoid Apple products (I do have an iPod, but that's all).

      • Apple once sued Microsoft on the theory that Windows infringed on the "look and feel" of Mac OS, so it's not at all surprising they would threaten to do the same to Sun over the look and feel of Looking Glass. It's just Apple being Apple, and Jobs being a dick, as usual.

        Apple may be litigious, but your example isn't very apt. Many things involving "look and feel" including trademarks and logos are protected. As far as I know, there was no precedent concerning the protection of graphical user interfaces to any significant extent, so it made good sense for Apple to try it. You've obviously got strong opinions of Apple and Steve Jobs, so I can see how you might have missed this. Forming suspicion and opinions can sometimes lead to pushing objectivity out the door.

      • by stephanruby (542433) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @02:38PM (#31429042)

        Apple's litigious nature is one of the reasons I tend to avoid Apple products (I do have an iPod, but that's all).

        Good man! I've been boycotting Apple for years too. I only have an iPod, an iPhone, a MacBook Pro, and a Mac Mini (but that's all).

  • Glad to hear that he sees this as the major post-leaving issue to raise. I think that's pretty significant in itself.

    Hopefully this brief blog entry is just a teaser. It really is hard to draw a clear line between trolls [swpat.org], inter-company attacks [swpat.org], tax seekers [swpat.org].

  • MS apologists and Apple fanboys teaming up together... now if only he said something nasty about linux, the rage would be complete.

  • Gates and Jobs.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032)

    Bill Gates and Steve Jobs both built hugely successful businesses. Schwartz was handed a hugely successful business, and he ran it into the ground. Why should anyone care what he has to say about people who did what he couldn't?

    -jcr

    • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @11:19AM (#31426446)

      Actually Sun already was on the ground when Schwarz took over....

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >Why should anyone care what he has to say about people who did what he couldn't?

      Because people need to see how horribly broken the patent system is and he has an insider's view of how they are actually used (protecting big business and pushing out small competitors) compared to how people tend to think they are used (protecting the small competitor).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Why should anyone care what he has to say about people who did what he couldn't?

      ... because success in business is the be-all and end-all of human value?

      For one thing, success in business has a lot to do with luck and the situation you're dropped into. It's well known that Gates lucked into a deal with IBM, without which Microsoft would not be in the position it's in now. Granted, he made some savvy decisions along the way, but Microsoft's success isn't all his doing.

      But besides all that, even if we assume that Jobs and Gates are the most brilliant minds in business today, that doe

  • Having worked at numerous high tech companies and been on both sides of the litigation fence you come to realize, it is simply part of your business. Plain and simple. There are some rules like:

    1) Never sue someone who doesn't have money unless they are a blatant rip off stealing your business.

    2) You wait until they are making money. Then you walk in with your 3 foot stack of patents and say "We believe you are infringing all of these patents, pay up and cross license or we will file suit on each and eve

  • Am I stupid or is the sign in the article telling people to always park in front of the entrance?

    It essentially says to never never never never park there and isn't a quadruple negative a positive? Furthermore if you never never do something then you always do it so it seems he permanently wants somebody blocking his door.

    • by TheLink (130905)
      > It essentially says to never never never never park there and isn't a quadruple negative a positive?

      Yeah right.

      Just like a double positive is always positive.
  • Oracle is irritating (Score:3, Informative)

    by bradley13 (1118935) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @11:30AM (#31426612) Homepage

    Does anyone else find the Oracle branding all over the Sun pages disturbing? They are also cancelling the Sun training programs, saying that you will have to sign up for Oracle Academy - at many times the price. In a nutshell, Oracle is acting as though Sun will be entirely dismantled, and cease to exist as an entity.

    It may be time to move away from Java...

    • by stephanruby (542433) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @03:15PM (#31429510)
      I just participated in a free two-day Oracle JavaFX class. Its list price was $1,800, but it was free since they were still designing the courseware. The class was actually excellent. If I were you guys, I'd just wait a couple of months, I got the feeling that they were designing many new courses that are going to show up on Oracle Academy soon.
  • by peter303 (12292) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @11:36AM (#31426684)
    Everyone knows that :-)
  • I like the guy. I also liked Sun.

  • Regarding Apple's lawsuit, I saw a clip of another interesting CEO and his take on stealing Apple's patented inventions.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0DUg63lqU [youtube.com]

Your program is sick! Shoot it and put it out of its memory.

Working...