Wise-cracking McNealy needles rivals

Sun Microsystems Chief Executive Scott McNealy took potshots at many of his peers in the computing industry during a keynote address Tuesday--even at Larry Ellison, leader of the company hosting the Oracle OpenWorld conference at which McNealy spoke before an audience of 12,000.

Shortly after introducing servers based on Sun's new UltraSparc IV+ processor, McNealy showed a slide picturing him in jeans and Ellison in characteristically sharp attire. "That suit! You can buy 14 of our new servers for that suit," McNealy quipped.

He also listed the supposed song playlist on Ellison's iPod: "Hey, Big Spender," "I Like Big," "Turning Japanese," "Come Sail Away" and "I'm Too Sexy."

And he remarked on Oracle's aggressive acquisition strategy. "Technology has the shelf life of a banana. Everything you buy from us, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, or anybody is going to be obsolete in 18 months, or end-of-lifed, or bought by Oracle."

McNealy also jabbed Hewlett-Packard's new CEO, Mark Hurd, by putting words into his mouth: "Who needs a strategy? We need to execute!"

Dell CEO Kevin Rollins didn't get a personal slight, but his company did. "Imagine if everyone on the planet got up in the morning and turned on their Xeon Dell PCs. You think we have a global warming problem now? Move away from the shores! There's not enough power, enough oil, enough energy on the planet to drive that compute model," McNealy said.

IBM CEO Sam Palmisano also got an iPod playlist--songs included "I Can't Make You Love Me" and "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for"--as well as a product jab. "The mainframe is easily the least cost-effective piece of computing equipment ever. If it was an airplane, it would have pedals on it," McNealy said.

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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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