When Jonathan Schwartz took over the company, Sun was perceived as a major platform vendor with challenges in monetizing its resources. His strategy of marshalling the company’s assets and harnessing the viral nature of open source dynamics has maintained Sun’s relationships with developers, but nowhere has there been the kind of disruptive messaging around the cloud computing paradigm that Schwartz employed to such good effect in marketing Sun in the Web 2.0 phase.
By contrast, even Apple jumped aggressively into the conversation with MobileMe; Google, Amazon, Rackspace, even Dell with a URL grab not only had a message but extended it with price cuts, acquisitions, and social media product announcements. Schwartz, who came to the job with a refreshing understanding of the power of blogging, Web services, and open source, projected confidence that these tools and communities could be intertwined with Sun’s leadership in disruptive hardware design and systems synergy.
The Schwartz version of a Jobsian reality distortion field went this way: If you understand the inevitability of small pieces loosely joined, you can build an interactive swarm-like community that will pool community resources to solve problems before other competitors even start to hear about them from top-down IT hierarchy. This must have been the rationale behind supporting community efforts such as Startup and other Camps. And it certainly was at the heart of the MySQL acquisition, which suggested the use of the open source database vendor as a sales channel through the entrepreneurial radar of the startup community and its open source DNA.
and Ashlee, who's at NYT now:
Funny thing is all these noises generated by bloggers and reporters are and should be seen as a warning or as word of caution. If things aren't happening, something is fundamentally wrong. With the faltering economy, one mustn't use that as an excuse for: "We'll these are bad times for all of us, so just wait a while".
Not surprisingly, he also sees Sun’s sagging share price as an opportunity.
“I think that makes us a screaming buy for investors that want to own a central part of the Internet,” he said. “I think for strong-willed and potentially strong-stomached investors there will be some exceptional buying opportunities out there. I don’t know which way our price is going right now, but I know there is a reason they call it a business cycle and not a business vector.”
Like a number of hardware makers, Sun is pushing the idea that smart, creative companies will buy new technology that helps them save costs now and prepares them to exit the downturn — there is an exit coming, right? — in fighting fashion.But then again what else do you expect a hardware seller to say?
The times are also great for many. You have got to sit in that boat!
TechCrunchIT and NYT