Under The Sun

Sun Values

Scott S. Smith:You're probably best-known to the general public for your attacks on Microsoft. What do you think Gates and his company are doing wrong?

Scott McNealy: I poke fun at Microsoft, but I don't dislike them. We do have some philosophical differences. They finally woke up to the importance of the Internet, which is good, but they're still mired in a closed, proprietary mindset [by making products that work best with other Microsoft products]. That's not what the Internet is all about.

Since about 1996, Sun has been talking about connecting anyone, anywhere, at any time, on any device. Last year, Microsoft adopted that as their official mission statement. I like the fact that they're following our lead; I just wish they'd do a better job of it. Their idea of choice is a bit like Henry Ford's. Ford said you could have a Model T in any color you wanted, as long as it was black.

Do you dare to go to the other side? See where Microsoft stands by checking out the interview, "Entrepreneur Of The Millennium: Bill Gates."

Smith:What unique technologies does Sun offer and how do you see them fitting into changes in computing in the next three years?

McNealy: Sun is the most open computer company I can think of. We've always published our programming interfaces so anyone could make compatible products, and now we're taking that openness a step further by making the source code [which is generally not fully revealed to outside software-application designers] freely available as well. Let's face it: The dotcom world runs on open technologies. There's no other way to do it; no other way that makes sense.

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This article was originally published in the August 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Under The Sun.

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