McNealy tees off at Symantec event

Sun chairman takes swings at Symantec customers, literally, and talks up green technologies for data centers.

Joris Evers Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Joris Evers covers security.
Joris Evers
2 min read
SAN FRANCISCO--Scott McNealy isn't CEO of Sun Microsystems anymore, but that doesn't mean he has more free time to play golf.

So McNealy hit a few balls from the stage of Symantec's Vision conference here, straight into the audience. His keynote address on the second day of the event was one of the Sun chairman's first public appearances since the changes at the helm of the Santa Clara, Calif., company.

"Jonathan is working me pretty hard," McNealy said, referring to Jonathan Schwartz, who ascended to the top seat late last month. "Turns out that I work for him for 89 days of the quarter, and he only works for me for one day....He's got me strapped to an airplane seat."


McNealy teed off to start his speech evangelizing Sun's products and vision to a hall filled with Symantec enterprise customers. "Now that I am not a CEO, and I don't have to do that Sarbanes-Oxley thing, I look a little further out," he said.

"We're moving out of the Ice Age, the Stone Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Age, the Information Age, and we're moving into what we call the Participation Age," McNealy said. And in that age of participation, everybody is creating data and communicating. Sun strives to be a key part of enabling that in the data center.

"We have a very clear mission at Sun, and that is to outfit your data center to allow your organization to create that participation community," he said. "If you have a data center, we don't want to own the floor, the ceiling or the walls; we want to own everything inside of it....Best of breed is the driver of complexity."

Symantec, in a similar vein, has been touting total protection, as it seeks to become a single-source supplier for management of data centers and protection of data and of online transactions. Sun and Symantec have hundreds of joined customers and Sun sells $150 million worth of Symantec products each year, McNealy said.

McNealy touted Sun's efforts to build products that are energy efficient and can help save companies on costs, such as cooling, related to running their data centers. Two of the balls he hit, bearing his signature, are good for a Sun Fire T2000 server. McNealy pitched the CoolThreads technology in the server: "You can even touch it when it is running."

And to the enjoyment of the audience, he gave away a few more one-liners: "If you think we have a global-warming problem, turn on a Dell computer for 6 billion people tomorrow. We'll all be standing knee-deep in water here. I am glad I am standing on a stage."

Sun has its own conference, JavaOne, in San Francisco next week, where McNealy is scheduled to speak on Friday, along with James Gosling, the creator of Java.